Qingdao, China

DSC_0297DSC_0326DSC_0312Our time in Qingdao was a whirlwind; we ended up only having 2 days here. I didn’t think we would need that much time here, since it’s not as touristy as Shanghai or Beijing, but in reality I wish that we had stayed longer because it was probably the best city we visited in China.

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Qingdao is a much lower-key city than the other main cities, but it still boasts tons of cultural and historic attractions. It’s situated on the seashore in Shandong province, on the foothills of the mountains – this leads to a more temperate climate and (perhaps related) much nicer/happier people. My uncle and his family lives here, and my grandparents’ gravesite is here, so this is where we come whenever my family is visiting China.

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My uncle showed us around the entire time, as I was basically a tourist this time. Qingdao had significantly grown in the 11+ years since I’ve been there – there is a proper tourist scene along the seashore, and the 2008 Olympics sailing races really put the city on the map. We drove across the world’s longest seabridge (the Jiaozhou Bridge), then visited a few beaches along the way including the Golden Sand Beach.

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We didn’t want to inconvenience my uncle’s family, so we stayed at a Renaissance hotel. We quickly changed before meeting my aunt and uncle for dinner, where although there was a language barrier, we quickly learned about one of Qingdao’s most important traditions: drinking Tsingdao Beer.

Before heading back to our hotel, we stopped by the TaiDong night market. There was so much good food here, but we were still stuffed from dinner! We also walked along the seashore and the May 4th Square, and saw the nightly light shows on the skyline.

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The next morning we headed out to LaoShan (Lao Mountains) to visit my grandparents’ gravesite. We then spent the rest of the day hiking. Unfortunately the mountains are in a bit of a drought so the waterfalls we went to see weren’t as stunning as they usually are, but it was cool visiting one of the central locations of Taoism. Known as the Cradle of Taoism in China, Mount Laoshan is one of the oldest mountain ranges and one of the most celebrated mountains in the country.

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We had lunch from a farmer’s house in Mount Laoshan, and after our hike had fish dumplings and delicious little clams for dinner. I absolutely loved the seafood here and wish we had more time to wander the tidepools and fish for our own dinner. We will just have to come visit again next time!

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