China was the first stop on our lap of the world and our first stop in China was Beijing. We spent several days walking around Beijing, the scale of the city was immense, beyond anything we had seen before. The skyscrapers stretch from horizon to horizon in every direction and the spaces between the buildings are full of cranes building even more! During our time there we visited the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. However, the highlight for us came when we visited the Great Wall about three hours north of Beijing. We trekked 10 kilometres along the Wall from Jingshanling to Simatai, a reasonably non-touristy segment of the great wall that hasn't been too badly affected either by deterioration over time or by recent renovations. The wall looks like it does on TV but far exceeded our expectations and was probably the highlight of our stay Beijing! We had perfect weather for the trek, sunny and clear, though it never exceeded -10C. The lakes and rives all around were frozen and the water we took in our backpacks froze despite being jostled around! A combination of being well wrapped up and having to keep pace with our guides ensured we didn't feel the effects of the cold!

From Beijing we headed inland to Xi'An, the final resting place of the first emperor of China and his terracotta warrior army. Xi'an city itself boasted some impressive city walls, the largest I had ever seen. We had a walk along the city walls which were brightly decorated for the New Year spring festival. Coloured scenes of flowers and happy rats made of silk occupied most corners.

After Xi'An we flew Shanghai to try and avoid the bad weather that was crippling most of the country. Though we didn't intend to spend so much time there we had an excellent time practicing our haggling with the locals and sampling some really good food! The Banana Leaf restaurant in the "Super Brand Mall" being particularly excellent! We spent the New Year in Shanghai where everyone and their dog had a small arsenal of fireworks and began letting them off about 6pm. They didn't stop till about 9 am the following morning... utterly insane! At the stroke of midnight night became day as hundreds of thousands of fireworks lit up the night. We saw quite a few fireworks from a little closer then we would have liked, but most were far enough away that we didn't seem like we were in the direct firing line.

Our last stop in China took us to Hong Kong. The residue of English rule made it feel very different from elsewhere we had visited and we were a little surprised by the contrast. While in Hong Kong we visited the night markets, the laser light shows and the worlds largest, bronze, seated, outdoor Buddha and spent the afternoons exploring the parks and mountains of the rainforest city.
Around the world in 93 days