So on Saturday me and Gabri returned from Datong. The trip was tiring, but fun.
First we took a day train to Beijing (11 hours) and then from Beijing a night train to Datong (6 hours). Usually it’s really hard for me to fall asleep on a train but this time it was quite okay. We arrived in Datong at 6am and went to look for a hotel. Our classmates Jake and Ning already went there so they told us to look for a hostel not far from the Red Flag square (center of the city). We took a taxi there and then we saw that the city center is kinda… not there. It was all in construction so we were quite confused about the directions. After walking for a while we went into a few hotels and after maybe an hour or more we went into the cheapest hotel we could find, it was quite nice.
After a quick shower we headed out to go to Yungang grottoes. It was quite close, we had to take two buses and we were there. There are Buddhist carving sculptures in caves. It was interesting but there were so many that it got boring after a while. We saw French people… And my shoulders got burned, it was hot. Then we came back to our hotel, took another shower and went out again. It started to rain so we went to eat and after that we hesitated a bit whether we should go somewhere far or stay close to the hotel. In the end we went to a Datong city wall (they call it ‘ancient city wall’ but actually it’s not more than 5 years old…). It was still raining slightly but we went there and we rented a bike (only 9 yuan for an hour!!). It was fun riding around the wall and saying hello to random Chinese. After that we ate and went to the hotel to sleep.
The next morning we went to the Hanging monastery. First we took one bus and after that we had to change but we didn’t really know to what. We went to some place and there were a lot of taxi’s offering to take you to places but of course they weren’t cheap and then one kind man pointed the Datong bus station to us (thank you!!!). The tickets were 30 yuan each person. While we were waiting for the bus we saw other foreigners and of course they were going to the same place as us and on the bus we introduced teach other. One girl and one guy were from Israel and one guy from Mexico. They didn’t know Chinese so we stayed together all the time. The bus ride was around an hour and a half, longer than we expected. The monastery itself was magnificent. It’s a temple built into a cliff and only oak crossbeams are keeping it there. I thought it would be bigger thou. After going through the temple we went to look for a bus but there were only taxi drivers who, again, tossed big prices at us. But after a lot of bargaining we got 40 yuan for one person and all in one taxi (we were 5, only 4 are allowed to go in one taxi). The ride was fun, we were talking about us studying, them traveling… The Mexican guy went to Latvia and he said it was beautiful! Also the taxi driver was collecting foreign money and the Mexican guy had pesos and he exchanged it for an old 2 yuan bill (it’s out of use now and is quite rare) and later I exchanged it for 20 yuan (before I tried to buy it from the taxi driver himself but he gave it away only by exchange). We arrived in Datong train station and me and Gabri wanted to find an earlier train because we had nothing else to do and they said that we can come over to their hotel if we don’t find one. We didn’t find it. We went to their hotel but they weren’t there so we went to eat and then we walked to the train station and took a brain to Beijing. It was a night train and it was awful… I couldn’t sleep at all. When we got off it was 4am and we were like zombies. The train from Beijing to Harbin was nice thou. Only 9 hours and the seats were soft and we could kinda lie down so I slept a lot on that one.
When we arrived in Harbin we went to a hotel near the central street and slept until 9pm. Then we went to eat and then to the Russian size bar. We arranged that all the AFS students meet there and hang out there for the last time.
Today was out last (for real) school day. The only reason we came to school actually was the lunch with our headmasters and teachers. The food was good, yes. Then we cleaned up our classroom (now all the stuff I had at school is at home). And actually I am worried that I have more than the allowed 23 kilos…
Only 7 days, oh my oh my…
Datong city wall.
The Hanging monastery
See what is holding up the monastery? And yes, I jumped while I was there. :D
9 dragon wall behind me.
Small, old houses in the heart of Datong. People still live there.