Day 16

Friday 4th March

This morning we crossed the sprawling suburbs of Beijing by taxi to reach Beijing South railway station. The public areas are circular rather like the first terminal at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. In fact, it is more airport than railway station until one is on the platform. Like an airport departures are on the upper level and arrivals on the lower, so it is essentially one way traffic. There is the ubiquitous shopping mall but plenty of seating, good signage and constant information updates. It was a most relaxing and pleasant wait for the train.

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Our train, the G15 11:00 a.m. departure was a German built ICE high speed train capable of maintaining at 300km per hour. The journey was effortless on an almost silent purpose built track. Like an aeroplane there were train stewards to provide food and drink at your seat. There were 2 stops at 3 minutes each but when people left the train and were replaced by new travellers the steward for coach 3 knew exactly where the new arrivals were seated and immediately checked their tickets and provided them with their free snacks and drinks.

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Outside the train was particularly gloomy until Shanghai as norther China is experiencing smog and blown sand from the Gobi Desert. At some places visibility was easily less than 500m. Upon arrival in Shanghai though it was 19C and sunny.

We are staying in central Shanghai near the People’s Square (a park) and the principal shopping street that leads to the riverside called The Bund.

Having travelled for 5 hours and transferred by taxi from the out of town railway station we ate dinner in the hotel’s Cantonese restaurant. One member of the team could not believe how good sweet and sour pork could really be!! After dinner it was thought essential to show you readers what Shanghai, in the vicinity of the hotel, is like at night.

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Enjoy the pictures. We are having a glass of Great Wall red wine!!


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