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CHINA: Shanghai & Beijing

In 2014 I went on a summer school program in China. The Confucius Institute from Cluj-Napoca organises this camp every summer and this year I decided to join.

Our adventure in China starts like this: on the 7th of July we left Cluj-Napoca(Romania) and took the bus to Budapest(Hungary). From Budapest we traveled to Paris by plane and after that we took a flight to our destination: Shanghai. It was a long way, but it was totally worth it. I have never been on a plane for more than three hours and I didn`t know what to expect from such a long flight.

I was sure I would get bored but that didn`t happen because of two reasons: first, on the plane we got to know each other better because when I signed up for the summer school program I didn`t know anybody and the second reason is that you can`t get bored on the plane when there are movies you can watch and games you can play.

We arrived in Shanghai tired and sleepy but very excited and curious to explore the city. Our tour-guy got us from the airport and took us straight to the Shanghai Museum. This museum is situated in the People`s Square in Hangpu District of Shanghai, China. As a museum of ancient Chinese art, Shanghai Museum possesses a collection of over 1.000.000 objects, about 120.000 of which are precious national-graded works of art. It`s rich and high-quality collection of ancient Chinese bronze, ceramics, painting and calligraphy is especially celebrated around the world.

The initial plan was to check in at the hotel but we arrived to early for that giving the fact that check ins start at 12:00. After we visited the museum and made ourselves an idea about Chinese culture and art, we went for lunch. It was our first meal in China and they took us to a chinese restaurant. To be honest I never liked the chinese cusine. I remember walking in the restaurant and the smell of their food…hmmm…let`s just say it didn`t apply to me. I couldn`t eat very much even though I was very hungry. From that big round table I chose to eat fish because it was the only thing I knew how it would taste.

After lunch we went to the hotel and finally checked in. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Hotel, a hotel I recommend gladly. We didn`t have much time to rest, so my roommate Jessica and I barely had time to take showers and change clothes.

Our next stop was the Yuyuan market, a place full of shops and with beautiful houses built in a traditional chinese style. The chinese traditional architecture is absolutely stunning. We had some free time to spend in that market and shop, eat(ahh, again chinese food) and admire the beautiful view. We found out chinese people are really friendly and treat tourists very well.

Since we only spend one night in Shanghai, we decided not to sleep very much and explore the city by night. Near out hotel there were some market stalls where you could buy different stuff like cheap clothes, toys and a lot of fake stuff . The next morning we had to wake up early for breakfast and then we continued our tour in this amazing city. We went to the Oriental Pearl Tower and we saw the city from up there. We took a lot of pictures and enjoyed the great view. In the afternoon we left Shanghai and went to Hangzhou, the city where we were going to spend the next week.

Shanghai was a great experience for me. I liked the city very much and even though it is very polluted and has about the same population as my country, Romania. Chinese people are really friendly and nice to tourists. I found out that they like european people very much and find them beautiful and they often ask you if you want to take pictures with them or they take pictures of you without even asking.

Shanghai is definitely a city of lights. The beautiful view you get when you go to The Bund and see those amazingly high buildings shining in different colors simply makes you smile. I am glad we got to see parts of Shanghai where the buildings are not that tall, but built in their traditional style and we also got to see those modern skyscrapers and the colorful lights.

Beijing time:

I am so thankful to my parents for allowing me to attend the summer camp in China and giving me the opportunity to see such wonderful places. China is a country full of culture, full of history. 

During our stay there we had the chance to visit the capital: Beijing. Although we were tired after the long trip, we were happy to be there and excited about the city break. First we stopped at the Tiananmen Square, then we visited the Forbidden City and after that, the Summer Palace. 

For me, Beijing is definitely one of the most interesting places I have ever visited. The chinese culture is very different from ours here in Europe. Everything is different. I have heard many opinions from people who visited this country. Some say they liked it, some say they didn`t. Well, here is what I think: 

China is amazing, unique and people there really know how to preserve their culture. It might be a communist country, and if you ask me, I don`t know if I would live there or not, but there is one thing I know: for a determined period, let`s say a year or so, Beijing would be a great 

Pictures by Jessica Brenda and me.