Although I have traveled extensively in my life, there are a few places that still remain nearer to my heart than any others. One of these places is China. This country became one of my favorites after I traveled there on a trip to see a good friend from my childhood. This friend was originally from South Korea but had come to Oklahoma with her family for a couple of years. When it was time for her to return home, I decided there was no better way to spend time with her than by taking a trip together. And what a wonderful trip it was!
Not only was China a country of rich culture and history, but it was also a country of growing importance in the modern world, and all of these factors combined to make my experience there astoundingly interesting and enjoyable. The beauty of China was that it wasn't just an urban country with lots of big cities, but it was also a country with a lot of rural areas as well, including farmland, beautiful mountains, and endless forests. When one thinks of China, an image of bustling cities and crowded public places may come to mind. However, this is only a narrow view of all this country has to offer.
The most interesting part of the trip was undoubtedly the abounding history of the country. For those of you who are unaware, China was under dynastic rule for much of its history, so there are many historic relics left from this era. One breathtaking example is the Terracotta Warriors found in Xi'an, China. These life-size statues were created to guard the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty. Each terracotta figure has unique facial features thought to be modeled after an individual soldier, and the number of figures found is enough to cover a football field several times over. I can hardly imagine the amount of effort some ancient artists employed to create a wonder so beautiful on such a grand scale.
Another historically and aesthetically impressive location I visited was the Summer Palace. This Palace was one of the more beautiful locations I have ever seen in my many adventures around the world. It is a collection of ornate, traditional Chinese buildings sitting on top of a hill that is surrounded by several mirror-like lakes as well as beautiful greenery and gardens. Its history is quite a tumultuous one. It was damaged and destroyed in several different conflicts and was also the favorite summer home of one of China's most brutal rulers, Empress Dowager Cixi.
Naturally, I also saw the more well-known places, such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, and Tiananmen Square, each with its own historical importance to modern day China. However, in addition to the many historic sites I visited, there was still much more to enjoy and appreciate. One of the most surprising (yet rewarding) aspects of the trip was the food. I had always thought I was well acquainted with Chinese food, having eaten the American version of Chinese take-out on many occasions. However, what I discovered was that true Chinese food was entirely different than anything I had ever tasted. It had its own collection of flavors and traditions that can only be understood by those who have experienced it for themselves. I hope that some of you readers get the chance to do just that.
To plan a trip to China, call our office today at 405-842-4464 or visit our website at www.baylesstravel.com to learn about other travel opportunities. Happy travels!