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So, it was a rather large touch of sadness that we left Paris on June 25, knowing that we would be back but that the next visit might not come around for quite some time. Our post-exchange blues, however, were definitely softened by our first stop in Beijing!
Beijing is what can definitely be qualified as a tourist city. It may lack the glitz and glamour of Shanghai, but it has oodles of tourist attractions and an ease of passage facilitated by the modifications carried out for the Olympic Games.
Its tourist attractions can broadly be categorized into two groups – temples and other stuff. One of our personal favourites was the so-called ‘Temple of Heaven’, situated in a huge park.
The temple itself is quite impressive, but the surrounding area, where Chinese seniors come together to play cards or dance or sing is a real break from the over-commercialised aspects of the city.
Beijing is far from the culinary capital of China – just like Paris in France. Nevertheless, like Paris, it does have a few signature dishes and on top of that list is of course Peking Duck. We sampled one at a popular restaurant - that was definitely a memorable eating experience and light on the wallet too!
One slight disappointment was the monsoonal type weather we endured whilst at the Great Wall. With visibility reduced to 50 metres or less, it was perhaps not the day to get that quintessential snaking picture of that most impressive construction – for another visit and another less-touristy part of the Wall!
So we just spent the last fortnight in China, visiting the historical city of Beijing and awesome Shanghai following the most amazing year in France and Paris.
At long last, we touched down to home Sydney soil yesterday morning and are now back in our respective beds. It feels weird being back, more weird than having no Facebook, Youtube or Tumblr access for a full fortnight in China due to the Firewall there. (Which explains our MIA!!)
I guess we’ll experience a whole group of different and complex emotions within the next few days and weeks as we eventually get back into our old rhythm and reality that is Sydney life.
All the memories, moments and friends that we’ve had and made during our year abroad are special and will not be forgotten. It was so hard to say goodbye, or rather see you soon as we do hope that we will get the chance to see a lot of the people in the upcoming few years… since you know, Sydney is the place to be with its beautiful beaches and weather for most of the year.
Since Gareth and I do not live under the same roof anymore, the status of Les Deux is currently a ‘not-quite-sure’, but we shall see after we talk about it. Nonetheless, photos and memories from our China leg will definitely be up, of course!
But for now, I am off the optometrist to see what is going on with my eye :)