We had hardly seemed to have been in Beijing and it was time to leave. Having lost a promised evening out there was indeed a disappointment but it wasn't to be.
For our last morning we were taken to The Temple of Heaven, again somewhere we had visited before.
Pretty enough but once seen is enough really. Not a lot to it. We were also taken to the park were the locals do their morning exercises too. Lots of geriatrics doing extraordinary things on various pieces of fixed equipment or simply without. We did feel a bit like voyeurs so the only option was to join in and we were made welcome too! On the other hand we were told that if we walked to a certain area in small groups we could see those parents that have adverts offering their children for marriage. I decided that this was an intrusion especially as the guides said they couldn't go with us as there would be a row! The parents didn't want gawking tourists around!
Next stop was the station, we had a train to catch but this was no ordinary train. This is the Bullet Train!
What an exceptional piece of engineering, a stunner to look at and total comfort to be a passenger in.
Everything was spotless.
Cleaning the carriages was an ongoing thing.
Yes, despite the speed we were travelling which you can see displayed above the door, the drinks trolley was as steady as a rock!
The only thing that could be faulted was that they didn't seem prepared for a large number of suitcases. Storage was so limited they had to use some of the toilets!
That aside, what a treat it was to travel. The Chinese countryside such a contrast to the cities with little sign of habitation but cultivated fields for as far as the eye could see.
The cities on the other hand were so, so crowded. There was evidence everywhere of China's booming economy. Huge tower blocks being constructed to rehouse the population boom in the cities. Underpasses, overpasses, motorways and railway lines. All brand new. It made you realise that we in the UK are now becoming left behind, a view that would be reinforced the further we travelled.
However, despite all this growth I can't say I have any desire to be like China. The train to Xian might speed along at over 300kph but the roads are gridlocked. Over 600 extra new cars hit the streets of Xian every week, thats's over 30,000 more vehicles every year. No wonder they need to build so quickly and no wonder it took us an hour to travel the short distance to our hotel.
We had arrived in Xian though and tomorrow we were off to see the famous Terracotta Warriors!