Most of us will have seen the iconic photos of Chinese wonders and so, I have decided to put up some different types of travel photos. The panda is loved by the Chinese and in Chengdu I was able to witness them munching their way through the bamboo that is the mainstay of their diet. Cute until you see the size of their teeth!
Above is a picture of one of the many temples I visited, each different and beautiful in its own way.
They took my breath away. The Terracotta Warriors are a must on any trip to China and I couldn’t resist showing you why.
The hotel rooms were well equipped with everything a visitor needed.
The sight from Xian City Walls includes the local barbers at work.
Not a portrait of Chairman Mao but Tiananmen Square nonetheless.
What they don’t tell you about walking the Great Wall is that the steps are uneven in depth and it is steep!
Read about the Forbidden City in Pearl S Buck’s great novel, ‘Imperial Woman’. It is a good read and brings the experiences of the inhabitants of this amazing complex to life.
Boats on the lake at the Summer Palace.
If you go to the Summer Palace, time your trip on the dragon boat to cross the lake at sunset. Our guide, Lillian, kept us together like ‘sticky rice’ and surprised us with this experience at the end of an amazing day. Watching the sun set behind the mountains with the lake and bridge in the foreground was magical.
The Chinese are fit and supple as seen at the Temple of Heaven park in Beijing.
The Tai Chi master tried to teach us westerners how to move with grace and strength.
I hope that you enjoy this short summary of a country too big to capture in words and pictures.
Recently I celebrated a milestone birthday which seemed to prompt my loved ones into a competition amongst them of who could purchase me the most wayout present. When I first read this one I thought that I would be jumping out of an airplane for a skydive and my heart fell as my daughter reminded me of my fear of heights. However, this was not the situation and instead I was lifted up into the air in a wind tunnel. The instructor had me down as a troublemaker when he was unable to exit the room at the end of the briefing due to my many questions and concerns. He sounded quite shocked when he passed me my certificate at the end with a number of achieved levels ticked off and an evaluation that I was awesome. The video soundtrack is overpowered by the laughter of my family as they observed my experience and so I have settled for a still picture to show you what it was like.
A word of advice – do it if you can. What fun it was and we can’t wait to book the next trip so that the entire family can try it out.
Rhodes Island is a land of contrasts. The main town is an ancient walled town containing beautiful buildings, cobbled roads and lots of tiny alleyways which lead to unexpected delights. Nearby are congested beaches full of tat and holidaymakers misbehaving themselves. Down south is Lindos, with its ancient ruins and winding alleyways between white buildings clinging to a hillside and looking as though they will commence a slide down if pushed a little too hard. Some of the touristy villages and towns rival some of the worst and others are a delight. In the mountains we found a hotel built by Italians in chalet style and local tavernas with some of the best country food that I have ever tasted. There have been the Shirley Valentine moments in restaurants full of Brits with great people watching opportunities. However, by far the most bizarre thing that we came across was on an early morning walk behind the row of random hotels which line the beach-front of Falaraki.
There was no warning as we climbed the hill to look at a small chapel which perched on a viewpoint overlooking the bay. After admiring the frescos we meandered further along the path and then a cartoon picture of a tiger appeared pointing to the right. Down the steps and Mr. Tiger awaited us with two friends. Glad to be on the outside of his cage were numerous goats, llama, peacocks and, of course, lots of horseflies. At first I was distressed by the sight of these magnificent creatures imprisoned in such circumstances however they apparently are housed here under the direction of the government as part of a breeding programme. My husband did say that he thought the goats may be dinner for the big cats but I prefer to think of them as providers of cheese and milk.
Travelling off of the main tourist route did lead us to unexpected sights on this occasion.
A man had a vision in the early 1900’s to build a dam.
This gorge narrows in a valley in the beautiful Costa Blanca area of Spain; a country where the value of water is high and rights of possession are fought over. Throughout the country’s history, powerful men have controlled the allocation of water from impressive buildings in city centres.
The dreamer hoped to create his own pool of liquid riches. High up the sides of the gorge the visitor can still see the abandoned path which accommodated the men, their donkeys and their equipment. In the tunnel walls it is still possible to see the impression of the sharp ends of the chisels which chipped out a passage through the rock face. Years of hard toil went in to creating the dam and it has stood the test of time. However, when the first water fell, rather than collect behind the stone wall the precious fluid seeped into the ground. Nature was not ready to be harnessed and another of man’s follies remain on the earth to remind us.
For many years men have walked along this coast. No hotels, no pavements, no roads; all that existed was the land and the sea. The coastline was made up of tosca stone; now eroded by builders harvesting decoration for the arches and windows of their homes. Ancient buildings once existed here; palaces at the side of the Mediterranean Sea. Now we are left with the ruins, disappearing into the sea as it encroaches on the foundations. Soon the shadow of man will blend into the waves as the sea buries our past.
Yesterday I wrote on my blog that I had written my first short piece for http://www.stayfantastic.com. The above picture is a clue to the topic. This great new site will be addressing a variety of issues affecting those of us in our middle years. It will be live soon so don’t forget to have a look. If any of you middle agers out there have any suggestions for topics you would like us to cover please send me a comment here at writelindy.wordpress or stayfantastic.com.
Do you consider yourself in your middle years? Is that how you are perceived by others? I am shortly going to be writing a column for this age group and would be really interested in any feedback you might wish to give me about life as a middle ager. Examples of concerns may be things such as:
Are you able to buy clothes which reflect your style?
What types of holidays appeal to you?
What books do you like to read?
Are you able to join in with local exercise classes, gyms, etc or are they aimed at the wrong age group for you?
How much of an outcast do you feel in some environments? ie, Discos, bars etc
How difficult is it to meet people in middle age and why? Where do you meet new people? How is dating as a middle ager?
The above are just some of the things which have come up in recent conversations with other middle agers. There have been many more. Please let me know what you think, what experiences you have had, etc.
I haven’t been writing on my blog over recent weeks for a number of pitiful reasons. Sometimes life gets in the way of my writing and no matter how hard I try, when I eventually manage to sit down to write my eyelids fall with exhaustion. Now things are settling down once again with family celebrations over, medical matters dealt with and the chores just about finished and by next week I should be back in full writing mode.
Don’t forget to let me know about your middle age experience.