That is how we got from Guilin to Beijing – a train. It was a very relaxing change to have to sit or sleep for 19 hours. We played cards, read, snacked, watched scenery go by and sleep. I got a really good night’s sleep as the train rocked me. Katrine would disagree with me as she found the movement kept her awake. That said, she managed to see a really nicely lit up body of water when we passed it at 2:00 in the morning. We traveled like chinese and brought our noodle cups, fruit, etc with us. Boy was I ever glad that I had brought gluten free snacks with me from home because eating helped to pass the time. If you are ever thinking of traveling overnight by train, I recommend booking a whole soft sleeper car. The beds are no worse than a hotels and the space was roomy enough for our family of four to pass the time quite comfortably.
We have checked into our hotel today and it is fabulous. When planning the trip, I found a hotel that is located in a 200 year old hutong in Beijing. It is decorated in a late Ching dynasty style complete with silk coverlets for the beds. Glenn and I are actually getting to sleep in the coolest bed that looks like a kang (think canopy bed). It actually has curtains that close!! Outside our room there is a courtyard with tables and chairs as well as a turtle pond with real live turtles which Elspeth discovered as we explored. Red lanterns line one side of the courtyard and they were lit at dusk giving the courtyard a cozy welcoming feel. It showered all afternoon but I still managed to get a bit of time to sit outside and relax to the sound of quiet only broken by the happy splashing of the small fountain.
What did we do? Took the subway to Tiannamen Square and did some shopping on WangFuJian. It is amazing how even that shopping street is changing. They appear to be in the process of building more closed malls as opposed to open store fronts. I am super happy that I was able to find some short steel chopsticks to send with Elspeth in her lunches this fall (she struggles with full sized chopsticks). We also stopped by their food street (of course) and got less exciting foods – sugar coated fruit on a stick and spiral cut potatoes on a stick. Nothing too unusual today I am afraid. I think that the girls are missing home as they asked for McDonalds for lunch and pizza for dinner. Oh well, only a few days left and then we will be heading home. Tomorrow though, we are off to the Muttianyu section of the Great Wall. Keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will be good.