Our flight from Ningbo to Qingdao left at 21:05 on Monday night and we arrived just after half past ten. After faffing to get off the plane and pick up our luggage in baggage reclaim, we were in the arrivals hall just after eleven. We checked out the bus that the hostel said would be available to take to get into the city centre but as it was a forty-five minute wait and twenty kuai each, we opted for a taxi that was a hundred kuai and left there and then. We eventually arrived at our hostel, checked in and happily went up to our rooms. I forgot we were staying in a big dorm of seven but the rooms were a good size with lots of space. The unfortunate thing was that there was a man who snored pretty loudly and constantly for half the night. So we didn’t sleep very well at all… The first few times I was woken up by it I was able to fall back to sleep, but after a while, this ability seemed to dwindle.. We got up at half past seven in order to shower and have breakfast before nine o’clock. Hayden has a family friend, Jessica, in Ningbo who had kindly offered to take us to see the mountain that morning. At half past nine she rocked up, we all piled into her car and off we went.
The journey to the mountain took about an hour. Once we arrived we had to buy tickets and get on a bus. The set up was quite like zhangjiajie with a free bus to take you to and from some spots within the national park. Once off, we headed upwards to the top. It’s only around twenty degrees in Qingdao but we were boiling! After only climbing a small way, we came across the cable car. We decided not to go up it as we didn’t want to spend the whole of our afternoon on the mountain as we wanted to see Qingdao City centre too. Thus we headed back. Even though it was pretty to see (well, what we did see was) and it was awesome to be by the sea, it just couldn’t compared to Zhangjiajie mountains. As it was already half past twelve by the time we caught the bus, Jessica offered to take us to lunch! It was so kind of her. We went to the Hyatt Regency Hotel to have Beijing duck and other amazing dished including lamb. Oh my word. Lamb. It’s not very common in China and this particular dish tasted like perfection. I selfishly just kept helping myself as it was so heavenly. It definitely reminded me of my dad’s roast lamb Sunday dinner at home… I cannot wait to have one!!
Following that, as we were still quite far out from the city, we caught a taxi to the harbour where they held the Beijing Olympic water sport events. It was just so nice to be by the sea! We walked along the harbour and around back towards the centre of the city. Luckily the fog/cloud/haze cleared so we were able to snap a few pretty pictures. We ended up walking the whole way home. It was about six kilometres and took us over an hour and a half but it was lovely to see the city. Qingdao is very western looking – like Shanghai – and could easily look like a Eastern European country if it weren’t for all the Chinese characters everywhere. We eventually arrived at the hostel after seven and had dinner in the hostel restaurant. It was yummy! Hayden had a pizza, Luis and Becky had pasta and I had lasagna. Mmmmmm. 😏 as we were so exhausted we decided to crash early… However the sleep wasn’t any better on Tuesday night.. This time us girls had the treat of two men snoring away.. It was quite amusing how one stopped and the other started in rotation but flipping annoying when all we want is to sleep. I was awake between four and half past six when I eventually dozed off again. This made waking up at eight rather difficult however soon we were up and out.
Wednesday’s itinerary was to walk around the main centre and to see the Qingdao Tsingtao Beer Brewery. The city is clean compared to others. And a lot of the buildings have a lot of German architecture which is interesting to see.
The brewery was cool! It was well laid out and the free beer is always a bonus! Our day was going well and we managed to get back to the hostel with lots of time to spare to get lunch (at Burger King) and then walk to the train station. We got to the train station and queued at the ticket desk. We were told we had to go with another one as apparently my passport didn’t work.. I started thinking “oh no, this is it. Another shot of bad luck.” But thankfully the next clerk gave us our tickets and we were on our way. We got to security and vóila: disaster came back swinging. Our tickets were booked for the 29th MAY. Not April. Oh flipping heck! We were just stunned. I couldn’t help burst out laughing because that’s how I react to these situations. 😂
Sooooo… We tried to changed our train to another one but all today was sold out. To buy another ticket/exchange it, we would have to wait until the next day. As Antonia was arriving tonight in Beijing to meet us, and the fact that it’s a bank holiday on Friday, we decided it was best to fly. We loaded up ctrip (which is like skyscanner but for China) and found a few flights, picked the cheapest and put in our details. Then suddenly it wouldn’t work and the prices went up. We made the smart decision to get in a taxi to the airport at that moment because if we can’t buy it online (due to it being under three hours before the flight departs), logic dictates that we should be able to buy it in the airport…!! So there we were.. In a taxi heading to Qingdao airport. Our purses whimpering at us for having to unexpectedly fork out more money… And me thinking: what has China done to us?
To be continued (when we actually know what’s going on)