It’s been a very long time since we last spoke and I promise there’s been a very good reason for that. As you know, I went to the Naturopathic Doctor on the 30th of August.
Good news is that I got the answers I had long been waiting for. The bad news is that healing my body has been a complicated process. Let’s just say cleanses are no joke and neither are detox symptoms. But that’s another blog topic for another day!
Today, I thought I would fill you in on something much more exciting!!!
So here’s where things are at, we’ve purchased our round trip tickets leaving Vancouver in early November and returning approximately one month later. Those of you that follow me on Instagram know that we got our tickets at a crazy price!!! Originally, we had expected to pay close to $2000/tickets but instead we managed to score round-trip tickets (Vancouver – Beijing) on Air Canada for under $800 all taxes and fees included!!!!!! Turns out there was a crazy sale fuelled by Chinese airlines making huge inroads into the Vancouver market . . . and we were the beneficiaries! Believe me, I definitely said a prayer of gratitude when I realized how inexpensive our flights ended up being!
In essence, Beijing will bookend our trip with a few days spent there at the beginning and a bit longer at the end of our trip. In between we’ll spend most of our time in Jinan (the capital of Shandong), with some time also spent in Qufu (Confucius’ birthplace), a weekend in Shanghai, and another weekend trip to Xian (to see the Terracotta Warriors).
We have most of our accommodation booked for our China trip (with the exception of our weekend trips). But by far, the place we’re most excited to stay at is the Mao’er Courtyard B&B in Beijing
The B&B will be our home both times we’re in Beijing. We chose it for a couple of reasons, for one it’s rated the #1 B&B in Beijing on Tripadvisor and gets absolutely glowing reviews but also it’s located in the old alleyway area of Beijing (the hutongs). Once upon a time, Beijing used to be full of hutongs – the kind of places filled with the beautiful courtyard homes you always see in Chinese movies. Now hutongs are a vanishing breed. From what I’ve read, it seems that a lot of the traditional hutongs have been demolished to make room for modern construction. And while I can’t fault the Chinese for progress, the Husband and I wanted to make sure we had a chance to enjoy old Beijing before it disappeared forever.
For weeks now, my mind has been full of daydreams of wonderful steamed dumplings, precarious and stunning portions of the Great Wall, the splendours of the Forbidden City, quiet mornings in the Beihai lakes area of Beijing, and wonderful Peking duck from Da Dong Roast Duck.
It’s our hope that in the first few days in Beijing we’ll get to explore the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall. That way when we return at the end of the month we’ll be able to relax and explore everything else at a much more leisurely place. Besides, we’re betting that by the time we return the weather will be considerably colder and we’ll be glad we visited the major outdoor walking sights in fairer weather.
One of the things I’m hoping we have time for during our trip is a guided Hutong food tour with Hias Gourmet.
Hias Gourmet was recommended to me by a friend of mine that visited China a few years back. They were her tour guides through all of Beijing and Shanghai and she tells me they were fantastic! And while the Husband and I are not usually guided tour kind of people, we can absolutely get behind small walking tours (max. 6 people) that feature all the best food that the Hutongs have to offer!!! Besides, knowing what you know about me – are you at all surprised that I would want to take a foodie tour in China!?! I didn’t’ think so!
I guess you could say it’s all coming together nicely! And since I’m self-hosted and not blocked by the Great Firewall of China, I’m looking forward to sharing our adventures in the Middle Kingdom with you!!!
Question: Have you ever been to Asia? Do you have any travel tips for me? I’ve travelled a lot but this will be my first trip to Asia and my first trip where I don’t speak the local language!