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This post is somewhat overdue as our Spring Break was more than three weeks ago, but as finals are fast approaching, I need a reminder of the good ole vacation days. To start the trip, Christa Lee ’15 and I went to visit last year’s Chinese language assistant in Xi’an! Catherine was the best host and it was so fun to see her again as Christa and I had both lived with her in the Asian Studies House.

Rachel Palfini '15, Catherine Qu (last year's Chinese Language Assistant) and Christa Lee '15 at Catherine's university campus in Xi'an.

Rachel Palfini ’15, Catherine Qu and Christa Lee ’15

Atop Xi'an's City Wall. Xi'an has one of the best preserved city walls in China. Christa and I rode a tandem bike on top of the entire wall in 2 hours (average time).

View from atop Xi’an’s City Wall. Xi’an has one of the best preserved city walls in China. Christa and I rode a tandem bicycle on top of the entire wall in just under 2 hours.

Pay special attention to the bushes.

Pay special attention to the bushes.

Xi'an's Small Goose Pagoda. We climbed to the top (only 15 yuan with a student card!). We were the only vistors a top though and it could probably only a maximum of 15 people.

Xi’an’s Small Goose Pagoda. We climbed to the top (only 15 yuan with a student card!). We were the only visitors though and it could probably only a maximum of 15 people.

After spending 3 1/2 days in Xi’an, we took an overnight train to spend the day in Pingyao before taking another overnight train to Qingdao. It was a 20+ hour train ride so we decided to break it up over two days and see the Zhangbi Underground Castle!

Underneath this ancient city is an expansive set of tunnels that were designed to be used during a military invasion. We were able to go inside 10% of the tunnels but the rest has not been excavated yet. It's called the Zhangbi Underground Castle and is located about an hour away from Pingyao.

Underneath this ancient city is an expansive set of tunnels that were designed to be used during a military invasion. We were able to go inside 10% of the tunnels but the rest has not been excavated yet.

Unfortunately, no photos turned out from inside the tunnels, but it just looked like a bunch of dirt tunnels anyway.

Sixteen hours later….and we were in Qingdao, a beautiful coastal city and home to Tsingtao Beer Manufacturing.

There were tons of couples taking wedding photographs on the beach in Qingdao. Traditionally, brides would wear red, but it is becoming more and more common for them to wear white gowns instead.

There were tons of couples taking wedding photographs on the beach in Qingdao. Traditionally, brides would wear red, but it is becoming more and more common for them to wear white gowns instead.

Inside Qingdao's botanical gardens.

Inside Qingdao’s botanical gardens.

Our last stop before going back to Shanghai was a quick day visit to Hangzhou–one of the most beautiful cities in China.

Hangzhou's West Lake. This is not the actual lake but a small pond off-shoot of the actual lake.

Hangzhou’s West Lake. This is not the actual lake but a small pond off-shoot of the actual lake.

It. Was. Real. We watched it for a minute to see if it would breathe.

It. Was. Real. We watched it for a minute to see if it would breathe.

Well, it’s off to study for finals for me. I can’t believe I’ve already been in Shanghai for 3 months! The end is so near…

-Little Sparrow

No caption needed.

No caption needed.




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