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All the Way to China!

Shelly, Melissa, and I traveled to China in November 2010.  We visited Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai.  Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, the Terracotta Warriors, and the Bund Waterfront were magnificent.  

We started our tour in Beijing.  We had about 20 people in our tour group.  Beijing is a very populated city and very industrial.  

Our first tour was of The Forbidden City.  The former Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty (the years 1420 to 1912), it now houses the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government for almost 500 years.  The architecture and colors were beautiful.  

The Great Wall was our second stop and was more than I expected.  It is a series of fortifications built over hundreds of years made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe with an eye to expansion.  The walkways were very steep.  I am amazed ancient soldiers were able to guard, support, and fight on the wall.

We hit the touristy Jade Store next.  There were beautiful jewelry and statues, and we saw craftsmen carving the jade in jewelry.  Shelly and Melissa bought some things and were happy.

China hosted the summer Olympics in 2008, so we stopped by to see the Olympic Venue in Beijing.  

The Summer Palace was a beautiful venue.  It's is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing.  We caught it near sunset and got some nice pictures.  

The Temple of Heaven is an imperial complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing.  We saw the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Temple of Heaven, and the Imperial Vaults of Heaven.

Tiananmen Square was our final stop in Beijing.  It is a city square in the center of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen ("Gate of Heavenly Peace") located to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. The square contains the Monument to the People's Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong

The next destination was Xian.  We started with a tour of the Terracotta Warriors.  The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife.  It was an amazing site with hundreds of warriors in dozens of rows, all there to protect the Emperor.

The next stop was dinner at a dinner theater to see the Tang Dynasty Dinner Show.  The show was great, with beautiful music, costumes, and dancing.  

Then we were off to our hotel which was right across from the Fortifications of Xian.  We walked the city walls, and Shelly danced with some of the locals.

Our last destination was Shanghai.  We first went to the Yuyuan Garden.  It is an extensive Chinese garden located beside the City God Temple in the northeast of the Old City of Shanghai at Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi. It abuts the Yuyuan Tourist Mart, the Huxinting Teahouse and the Yuyuan Garden Bazaar.  It's like an oasis in the middle of the city.  So beautiful.  

The Yuyuan Garden Bazaar was our next stop.  Lots of shops and lots of people shopping.  

Our last visit was to the Bund Waterfront.  Beautiful skyline.

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