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City Tour Extreme: Day One, Nanjing

Our holidays in China are over but I still feel exhausted from the crazy city tour we had. As mentioned before I have a lot to write about this trip, in fact too much so I will have few posts about the different days. The first day of the tour was in Nanjing where we met the rest of the tour group. We had actually arrived in Nanjing the night before but we pretty much didn’t see anything except the airport and our luxury hotel.

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View from our luxury hotel

I know that Nanjing has so many things to visit and I was worried that we would only rush to the different locations as we had only one day there. Oh silly me, I shouldn’t have worried about rushing to all the different spots as we visited only two! Yes two locations we visited before going back to the hotel for the night. No we did not visit the old city fortifications, nor the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, nor Yuejiang Lou, nor any former Nationalist time governmental buildings and and and. I think you can see that we did not visit many places and that I was kind of disappointed. This was not only in Nanjing the case but any other place we visited during those five days.

In the beginning of the tour we basically went to our tour meeting spot by the lake and then drove by bus to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum 中山陵. The construction of the tomb started in 1926 and was finished in 1929. In case you don’t know about Dr. Sun, he was the first President, founding father of the Republic of China and posthumously named “Father of the Nation”. The mausoleum is located at the Purple Mountain and the area is just huge.  As it is located at the mountain slope there are more than just a few steps leading up. The vault is located more than 700m away from the entrance to the mausoleum and the main stairway has 392 steps leading up. During our visit it wasn’t too crowded so we didn’t have to line up anywhere. Once reaching the top of the view is just incredible.  In the vault you can not actually see the tomb as that room has been locked up due to vandalism few years back.

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Top of the stairs of the Mausoleum

After the trip to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum we had another wonderful trip with the bus to our next location: Nanjing Fuzimiao 南京夫子廟.  Back in the years (many years back!) the Nanking Imperial University was placed there as well as a Temple of Confucius. Over the years the place has been destroyed multiple times and most of the current buildings are from the 19th century or even younger. In 1985 it has been restored and you can find now many cultural attraction there but also various places for shopping and last but not least there is a huge variety of different food. Now I was myself not too happy there as it dawned on me that the whole city tour would be like this leaving too many wonderful places out.

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Going around Nanjing Fuzimiao

I wish we could have visited all the other places as well but I know that is never really the purpose of those Chinese tour groups. Thing is we faced many problems with this tour group. For one it was not cheap at all but most annoying the whole schedule was changed. Okay not for all of us as only we had the wrong schedule and the entire rest of the group had the correct schedule. Our original schedule was more relaxing as times for driving between the different cities was better planned and we would have seen more in the cities than just one or two places. Needless to say we were not pleased at all with the whole situation and we wanted to quit the trip more than just once. To make matters worse is that it started to rain after the first day for the rest of the trip and temperatures plummeted down from 30 degrees Celsius to 15-18 degrees Celsius.

Have you ever travelled with a tour group?

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Going to China

This will be just a short blog post as I am in the middle of craziness which happens when you fly next morning and nothing is ready yet. I always promise myself that I will start the preparation process much earlier the next time but thus far I have failed all my life with it.

The day has been spent by running through the city to buy last presents for the family and all kind of other people we meet there, finishing up MIL’s Visa application (indeed the Chaos Queen is coming again to bring us terror this summer), packing, packing more, running again to city to buy stuff we forgot, packing, bringing the bunnies to my parents apartment, cleaning the fish tanks, packing, taking care that my father has everything with him, filling out papers for the customs, running again to the city, packing, cleaning the apartment and starting to think how on earth we get to the airport next morning.

I’ll be back!

As you can see it has been a really fun day but now I am also happy that my mother is staying behind in Germany. Now she can take care of our bunnies, feed the fishes and shrimps, refill the tanks, water the flowers and I hope we have a clean apartment again once we return and a filled fridge.  For me a holidays never starts till I am in the final stretch to the journey. So this means for our trip that my holiday won’t start till we are sitting in the plane from Helsinki to Xi’an. The flight from Hamburg to Helsinki is still  unsettling as we had it before that it was delayed and thus we missed our connecting flight and thus we had to return home after running through the airport for an entire day to try to catch other flights (more about that at some point in the future, even now after so long time I am still very annoyed about that day).

What worries me right now the most is the part where we all get picked up from Xi’an airport by my in-laws. We are three adults plus little Nathan with tons of luggage. To be precise the first four suitcases filled the entire trunk of my parents car (mom will try her best to drive us to the airport, yay and it is really scary). My in-laws don’t have any car and I don’t think that anyone of their friends does have a big enough car…

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The car is about this full once again

Oh no, now I am worrying again too much about it and I should actually go to bed instead to get few hours of rest before this upcoming too long day. The only positive thing right now on my mind is the food in China which I have missed for far too long.

When do you start preparing for going to holidays?

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Looking Forward to the Future

Perhaps some still remember my blog post about how unforseen events can change your life and that my health hasn’t been the best for a long time. I wrote that about half-year ago and now it seems things are finally looking brighter. With the trip last week to Cologne some of you might have noticed that I am actually able to go on a trip. Ever since the beginning of this year my health has been improving and I could also reduce the med intake. This helped a lot to feel better mentally because you won’t really feel in good shape when you see how much medication you have to take just to get the day started.

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Little Bonus: A squatting monk

This year is still young and already much has changed. I left my job as I wouldn’t be able to really find my way back in after being away for so long time. Now that would make me unemployed again in some sense but I have still the business with my wife in which I started to help out more and more again with my improving health. As things are looking much better again for me we decided to “redo” the trip to China which I had to abort last year. So in one week we are flying once again to Xi’an and stay there for nearly three weeks. To make things a bit more interesting my father is coming with us again. What about my dear mother? When we invited her she just said “One time in China is more than enough for me!”, okay…

 

In China we will spend most of the time in Xi’an but according to my wife we will actually go on some trip again with a tourist group. You know my feelings about those tourist groups but well, at least we will be going somewhere this time. What makes this trip a bit more complicated is that my father is not the youngest anymore with his 75 years and then the issue when it comes to food. We have to schedule everything well so he does not get too exhausted and we have to find a healthy mix for him between Chinese food and some Western restaurants (looking at you Pizza Hut). I hope he will enjoy this trip as it won’t be this time as hot as it was back when he visited the first time in 2011 during the hot July weeks.

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Finally going to Xi’an again

It still feel weird for me to actually plan such things again. There I was half-year ago and things were kind of bleak and now I am going to a three-week holiday in China. Besides that I slowly started with some sports again to get back in shape as far as it is possible right now. Will I ever be back to 100%? No, I won’t be but that is alright. The possible 90% are already more than I have ever imagined several months ago. Now I am looking forward to this summer and I really want to have a proper visit at the beach this year!

How has been your year thus far?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore I also have a YouTube Channel in which some videos might pop up from time to time

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https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.youtube.com/