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Bullet Train to Beijing

April 1, 2015

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

My intention was to do a blog post for each day of the trip, but that has not worked out. Uploading pictures via the hotel wifi is a time consuming project and I do like to sleep occasionally, especially when exhausted. So, now that it is day five in our seven day trip to Beijing, I am staying off my feet, hanging around the hotel room, and can get a blog post up.

train and train platform

It is spring break and we haven’t traveled outside of Shanghai since we arrived, so decided it was time to hop the bullet train to Beijing. This is actually a pretty easy thing to do, except for buying the tickets. DaddyBird went to the train station to purchase them, because he wasn’t able to do it online. Apparently, to purchase online you have to be a Chinese national. If you go in person to buy the tickets you can only buy “three days in advance” which when pointed out on the calendar includes the day of travel, so it is really only 24 hours in advance for all practical purposes. So, we left Shanghai with departure tickets only, no return tickets. Leap of faith. Since then, DaddyBird has been able to get a booking service to obtain our return tickets for us. This was important, because the tickets were selling out.

green field

The bullet train is a very smooth ride. There was a lot of farmland to see out the window. It was quite flat most of the way. It became a bit hilly around Nanjing, but flattened out again before Beijing.

green field with randomly placed conical mounds

In the picture above, notice the mound in the field. This was very common and appears to be burial mounds. Some had grave stones and some had miniature buildings (as shrines I suppose). The information I have read online about Chinese burial rites says that they prefer to bury on hills, but there just aren’t any hills for miles and miles.

a group of trees with several grave mounds

There were also sites like the above where a large number of grave mounds appeared.

lot full of CAT heavy equipment vehicles

It appears that we also passed the Caterpillar (CAT) factory.

There really wasn’t any area that I would call “wild.” It was all being cultivated. There were frequent villages and every once in a while a city. I saw lots of roads, but very, very few vehicles, even parked around houses. There were a few vans, trucks and tricycle carts, but very few cars.

We are staying in a nice hotel in a historic area of Beijing. The neighborhood consists of long lanes called “hutong” that branch off of one main lane that goes through the center. The lane is lined with vibrant businesses, restaurants, and bars. We spent the first two days roaming around the hutongs.

Pictures from the Train Ride – click here 118 pictures
Pictures from Day 1 (Saturday afternoon and evening) – click here 74 pictures
Pictures from Day 2 (Sunday – hutong and Qianhai Lake) – click here 239 pictures
Pictures from Day 3 (Monday – hutong) – click here 76 pictures

Day 4 we went to the Forbidden City. It was quite amazing and beautiful. It took a huge toll on my feet, though, which is why Day 5 is a day of rest. We still have the Great Wall to squeeze in before we leave. Hopefully, my sore feet and injured knee will play along for one more day of walking and climbing.

Pictures from Day 4 (Tuesday – Forbidden City) – click here 380 pictures

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