Thursday, November 30, 2006
Of course you can't leave Beijing without seeing the great symbol of China, the Great Wall. There are different sections of wall open to tourists in the Beijing area. Climbing the stairs can be a challenge, but the Badaling section of the wall has a cable car that will carry families right to the top.
There are small stone buildings to explore at regular intervals and incredible views of the mountains and countryside. I was surprised to find that the height of the stairs varied widely - with a foot high step followed by one a couple of inches high. And they are STEEP in a lot of areas. How did soldiers run up and down those things in the middle of a battle without tripping constantly? It's a mystery to me. All I know is those soldiers must have been in GREAT shape.
We toured the Juyongguan section of the wall, which had an incredibly steep flight of stairs on one side of the road and a more sloping climb on the other. I chose the sloping side, which was still PLENTY challenging.
Monday, November 27, 2006
A visit to China is fascinating and an incredible educational opportunity for any family. I was fortunate to travel to this magnificent country two years ago with my daughter and still browse through my photos often.
I started my trip in Beijing, then flew out to Nanning, on to Guangzhou, then to Hong Kong and home.
Of all the sights I saw in China, the Forbidden City in Beijing was easily the most impressive. For centuries this sprawling compound was the home of China's emperors and as recently as 100 years ago it was closed to outsiders. I found it interesting that it wasn't a huge palace like the Louvre, but rather many smaller buildings that made up the whole.
Just about everything you set your eyes on in the Forbidden City is a thing of beauty. I loved seeing the attention to detail and the skill that went into making a simple water pot into a work of art.
I'll admit I was dismayed to see a Starbucks doing business right smack in the middle of the Forbidden City. But the next day I flew out to Nanning, and I tell you, had I known that was the last decent cup of coffee I was going to see for two weeks, I wouldn't have turned up my nose at it.
Aside from the mediocre coffee, though, China rocked.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
For a fun and unique winter vacation, why not take a train trip to some of Canada's most popular winter resort locatons? Rocky Mountaineer Vacations offers trips to the beautiful mountain towns of the Canadian Rockies. Families can enjoy the unique and majestic scenery as they speed along in the train, then stop for the night to explore a mountain resort town. The train itself offers entertainment, including live music and a children's car with programs to keep the kids busy. Take a look!