Reflexology rocks

Tags @GreatRail #GrandTourOfChina Yesterday we visited the yellow crane pagoda in Wuhan It sits on top of a hill overlooking Wuhan After lunch a long five and a half hour train journey to Souzhou, a garden suburb of Shanghai where we checked into the Pan Pacific hotel. This morning we took a trishaw ride to …

Hydroelectric mucus

So, we’ve now finished our cruise along the Yangtze River. Internet connectivity is a little patchy on a cruise ship winding down river with steep gorges, So I haven’t been able to post anything for little while. Anyway here’s a taste of some of the scenery that we got to enjoy. The weather was a …

Chongquing for another Birthday

Tags @GreatRail #GrandTourOfChina Good Morning all, and a very Happy Birthday to Mr. Roger Nelson one board the cruise ship Century Sun on the Yangtze River. Our cruise started in the city of Chongquing, which you may recall from an earlier post of mine is the largest city in the world! One city, half the …

What’s black & white and eats bamboo?

Tags @GreatRail #GrandTourOfChina I promised to all some hot panda action, and so here goes. We started the day early to catch the pandas before they have their morning nap. Opposite the hotel this street vendor was selling dim sum breakfast to construction workers On arrival, much to my relief, the pandas were up and …

Street Markets & Taxi for Chairman Mao

Tags @GreatRail #GrandTourOfChina A rainy day in Chengdu today and since our scheduled visit to the giant Buddha at Leshan has been cancelled (it’s being renovated and is draped with scaffolding) made the decision to tour some of Chengdu’s street markets. Szichuan food is known world wide for spices and chilli so I thought we …

Back on the train…

Today was another travel day. We started with a visit to a jade carving factory and showroom. There’s also another birthday in our group and we’ve decided to continue the (recent) tradition of giving them something silly to wear on their head all day; this time a Moslem hat. After stopping off at a Pagoda …

Warriors, pomegranates and dumplings

So today was our day for visiting the terracotta warriors. There’s not too much to say beyond the fact that they were as good as was expected, which was pretty damn good! Fortunately, we arrived quite early, which meant we got there ahead of the rush and were able to see the Warriors in the …

My clients are dancing again!

Tags @GreatRail #GrandTourOfChina No time to write too much today because I’m rather tired, so mostly pictures. This morning we visited the Temple of Heaven in Beijing where the senior citizens gather in the morning to do Tai Chi and dancing. Before I knew what was going on my lot had joined in and we’re …

Lily & The Wall

Tags @GreatRail #GrandTourOfChina Today we drove from Beijing and visited the Great Wall of China. There was a bit of a slope at the start, but the clients did well and we made it to the Cable Cars with no drama. I have to say that Cable Cars on Tours in whatever country are my …

Cloisonné

Tags @GreatRail #GrandTourOfChina Today we had a fascinating stop at a Cloisonné factory (Nope, I didn’t know what Cloisonné was either until I came to China.) How is it made? The base product is a copper shape - vase, pot, jewellery and on to this is hand fastened a basic design in copper wire. The …

Tea, a birthday and the Summer Palace

Tags @GreatRail #GrandTourOfChina The Forbidden City is spectacular and massive. It’s also not forbidden anymore to tourists, and there’s a lot of them. Moving on, we stopped at a Tea House to taste various teas and discover how we've been making lousy tea all this time. For the Chinese, the water doesn't have to be …

Beijing &Tiananmen Square

Tags @GreatRail #GrandTourOfChina So today was the day for exploring Beijing, starting with Tiananmen Square which is enormous. It’s the size of Belgium or something like that. It’s also chock full of Chinese from all over the country paying their respects at the tomb of Chairman Mao. For many Chinese, this may be the first …

Scorpions & Pink Inflatable Gorillas

Tags @GreatRail #GrandTourOfChina Arriving in China is always a bit of a shock when you’re jet-lagged. I can’t think of anywhere more appropriate to go than the Chinese weird food market (I don’t think it’s actually called that) and soaking up the atmosphere, sounds and smells. Deep fried scorpion on a stick or a nice …

The Great Firewall of China

Not long now until China, and the usual problem with posting while on Tour is about to turn up again. China blocks access to many of the most popular websites in the West. Although you can log on to the internet, you can't (usually) access any of the sites, as shown below. We can add …

The Largest City In The World

So... coming up next if the 'Grand Tour of China' and this will probably be the last of the year for me. Winter is very quiet for TimOnTheTrain - there are more Tour Managers than Tours, so if I'm lucky I'll get offered one Tour between November 2018 and March 2019 and if I'm unlucky., …

Busy September

September is always the busiest month for Great Rail Journeys Tours - The GRJ client demographic is of a slightly older person, and as a rule, they don't do heat and they don't do kids... meaning that July & August are quiet months for Tours. But then comes September, and the taps are turned fully …

Livin’, Louvin, Losin’

Nope - not a typo! The Louvin Brothers were an American musical duo composed of brothers Ira (the taller of the two) and Charlie Louvin who performed secular country music, as well as fire and brimstone Gospel. The album cover shown above is for the latter. Designed by Ira Louvin, the cover features the brothers standing …

Gandy Dancers

Continuing my preparation for the upcoming 'Tracks Of The Deep South' Tour and I came across the Gandy Dancers. Their songs, combined with the spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants of Black America feed directly into the creation of the Blues, and since we'll be visiting Beale Street, Memphis, the birthplace of the Blues, …

Zydeco or Cajun?

Think of New Orleans and you think of Jazz, or at least that's the prevailing wisdom. When I think of visiting New Orleans I tend to think of it being another opportunity to enjoy both Zydeco & Cajun music - but what are they exactly, and what is the difference between them? In simple terms, …

Do You Know What It Means…?

Continuing research today for the upcoming 'Tracks of the Deep South' Tour (or, as I like to call it 'The Music Tour'). I'm looking at New Orleans at the moment. Sometime in the next few days I'll post a blog entry about the differences between 'Cajun' and 'Zydeco' music and why I love them both. …