A Travellerspoint blog

18 and 19 Aug Shanghai

sunny 32 °C

Now only three of us. It seems strange without everyone. the Anting Villa Hotel was is very colonial and just the ideal experience to stay in the French concession. No wifi though. But wired connections available if you had a laptop. We had not bargained for smoking in the bars so did not stay out too long. Finally found the egg/crepe breakfast being cooked on the street around the corner of the hotel with the hottest chilli sauce - why can't we have these in Chinese restaurants in the UK?

Took the maglev to the airport, but slightly disappointed as max speed of 312km/h was similar to the bullet train from Beijing. I'm sure it used to travel at 400km/h. After feeding ourselves White Rabbit milk candy we headed to Xin Tian Di which felt less glamorous than two years earlier. Was it us, or has XTD become less exciting?

Fortunately, the sun appeared on our last full day and the views from the top of the bottle opener were fantastic and even enjoyed by the verigo sufferers.

Shopping was a little stressful as business is clearly quiet, and the fun of haggling went out the window when we were dragged back to one market stall. However, we were pleased to find the tailor I'd used a couple of years earlier, and he even delivered our shirts to our hotel on our last night. What great service.

Posted by mkmp 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

17 august To shanghai and beyond.

overcast 30 °C

Bullet train G21 leaving at 17:00. Great to travel at 307 km/h. As nice and modern as Beijing south railway station is, the toilets are quite skanky! Train left on time and quickly picked up speed across the flat plains to the south.

Vast modern empty platforms at virtually identical stations between Beijing and shanghai. I wonder how long it will take for these stations to reach capacity!!

Posted by mkmp 17:00 Archived in China Tagged train shanghai bullet Comments (0)

13 to 17 August Beijing

all seasons in one day 32 °C

The land of plenty. A minibus introduced us to the backstreets of Beijing railway Station to take us to the Novotel - airconditioning and a welcome return to free wifi. Tiredness was setting in for the home stretch. However, we walked to the Oriental Plaza to enjoy japanese fast food - very yummy - before facing Wangfujing and the Night Food market. Good thing we had already eaten. However the rain caught us and we were suitably drenched. Not too much better on our first full day as we went to the Temple of Heaven and stumbled upon a great Hot pot restaurant at the South Gate. Suitably fed we walked and walked and found the museum we wanted to visit was closed! So Tianenmen Square it was where the locals wanted to be photographed next to some of us, and we photographed them.

The obligatory trip to the Great Wall was enjoyable, but there's now a new cable car service that takes you further up the climb, and so it's even harder to find a quiet area. Thank goodness we were early during the day as it was very sunny and hot.

While an interesting excursion, the TV tower offered great views, but the buffet was outrageously expensive (we declined) and the exit was frustrating as we were not allowed to take the lift straight to the ground floor but forced to view the different floors.

Posted by mkmp 17:00 Archived in China Tagged rain china sun beijing Comments (0)

Irkutsk celebrates 350 years

overcast 19 °C

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Posted by mkmp 23:21 Archived in Russia Tagged irkutsk Comments (0)

Add 5 years at lake Baikal

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Posted by mkmp 23:16 Comments (0)

Lake Baikal

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Posted by mkmp 23:16 Comments (0)

12 August - Ulaan Baatar or Batty Baatar?

semi-overcast 17 °C

Fascinating city, and slightly crazy, but in a good way. Our early morning arrival allowed us to experience the very congested driving and the excellent skill of the local drivers to squeeze land cruisers into a gap only really big enough for a mini! The LG guesthouse 1 was friendly, very clean and only a few minutes from the station.

We hired a couple of people to drive us to the sights beyond the centre. The gandan monastery was busy in contrast to the summer and winter palaces. The latter had hardly any tourists, and it felt as if we had the place to ourselves. While the exteriors were dishevelled and in need of paint etc, the interiors were brilliant and exhibits well presented and in great condition. If only Beijing's forbidden city had been so conserved...

As for the city and people - crazy but friendly.

Posted by mkmp 17:00 Archived in Mongolia Tagged mongolia ulaan baatar Comments (0)

11 and 12 August - Irkutsk to Ulaan Baatar

semi-overcast 18 °C

The waiting at the border seemed to be the longest part of the journey. With the help of some playing cards, beer, crisps and plenty of sunshine, the 5 hour stop on the Russian side flew by. The three hours on the Mongolian side were accompanied by great thunderstorms and a Name That Tune game from Robert's very catholic collection on his iPod.

Very impressed with Gobi Expeditions who met us at the station in Ulaan Baatar to hand us our train tickets for UB to Beijing, which saved us a couple of hours from wandering around trying to find their office! He did not seem to mind that we were being collected by the good people of LG guesthouse!

Posted by mkmp 17:00 Archived in Mongolia Tagged train Comments (0)

Waiting for ever for a chocolate milk shake

irkutsk - Hotel Mayak

sunny 21 °C

But worth waiting for...

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Posted by mkmp 01:01 Archived in Russia Tagged chocolate hot russia irkutsk Comments (0)

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