Travel to China during the Chinese New Year

I traveled to China to celebrate the Chinese New Year and visit Qingdao and Shanghai. The highlight of the trip has been the intense cold that we have gone through. It has made us realize how much we are with the tropical climate in Saigon. I left Vietnam with a sweater and a coat and came back with more sweaters, scarves, and gloves. It was too cold but luckily we have enjoyed sun every day.

In this blog I am going to count the beginning of the holidays and the days I spent in my first stop, Qingdao. The most difficult time to travel in China is precisely during the New Year. There is no China without adventure. The adventure was immediate. We arrived at the Qingdao hostel.

Next morning it is New Year's Eve in China. The stations are crowded, and there are kitchen fires at the top. The houses are full and the streets of Qingdao are empty for us. We take a walk through the old part of the city and surprisingly find a street-market for last minute shopping. We give you an example of the fish market and the butcher shop. No need to worry because they are out in the open as we are at -8ºC, so the cold chain of food is being respected.

We arrived to one of the small bays of the city. There are several people walking. We can see that it is festive in China. We can breathe a lot of tranquility although the intense cold does not allow us to enjoy the walk and the views of the sea. We take advantage of the low tide to walk on the rocks and the beach. This is the moment when the ankles begin to suffer and that they will continue to do so during all the holidays (the traveler's life).

Then we came to the Zhanshan temple and took advantage of that were in the Zhongshan mountains. But the funicular did not work. So we go walking (hiking in the making). From the highest part of the mountain we could get a better idea of ​​what Qingdao is and its great extension.

In the afternoon, we returned to the old town and we went to visit the Qingdao Ying Binguan. In the past Yuan Shikai and Mao Zedong stayed there. It was already dusk and after the great ascent of the morning (maybe it was not so high but with the cold becoming harder) we went to the port area to take some pictures.

With the streets absolutely absent from traffic and people, the first firecrackers of New Year's Eve began to sound. The firecrackers and fireworks make the Chinese go crazy. In fact it is a custom related to the deceased and the spirits. They are used in several occasions and New Year's Eve is one of them. As we returned to the hostel, at the crossroads of the streets families gather to light small bonfires with offerings to their dead and firecrackers, and fireworks.

You cannot say that you were in the Chinese New Year without having eaten Jiaozi. So the next morning on the New Year day, after a good breakfast I head to Shanghai. We arrived in Shanghai, just in time to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year is celebrated for a whole week. It can be summarized in two words: fire and noise. There are fireworks everywhere. Throughout the week we have had noise at all hours, from 7 in the morning to 12 at night.

It did not matter whether to plant a firebrand in the middle of the street and cut traffic. Or launch rockets into a courtyard surrounded by buildings. Opening the window of the house allowed me to see the show but it was a danger. We were in the living room of my friend's house in Beijing watching TV. When I looked through the window I could see fireworks exploding at the same height of the floor. In short, visiting China on Chinese New Year has been a curious experience.

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