This was our first trip to China that wasn't related to Adoption. Our first two trips were to pick-up Yanmei and Daji, whilst the two trips in 2006 and 2007 we spent part of the trip to visit the Social Welfare Institutes  where they had spent the first 2 to 3 years of their lives. This time the "only reason to go back was to visit China as tourists. Most of the time was spent in Beijing, mainly because during our last trip to Beijing in 2006, many of the sites we closed down as they were being renovated for the Olympics in 2008. We also visited the beautiful Yangshou, which we had also visited 18 months earlier, Pingyao, a walled city and UNESCO Heritage sites and the Summer Palace at Chengde, likewise on UNESCO's list.

Again we had many unforgettable experiences in the 3 weeks we were away; a 10km hike along the Great Wall, the terraced rice fields at Ping An, visiting a village and school one hour by boat from Yangshou, the hospitality at the hotel in Pingyao and the Beijing parks at weekend. 

Weather wise, this was the trip where we experienced everything hot and cold, cloudy and sunny, cold piercing winds and wind storms, thick fog, rain and even snow! We were luckily, despite weather forecasts to the contrary we only experienced half a day with rain and the snow in Chengde resulted in incredible views of the mountains and whilst on the wall. We experienced rain and fog going up and down the mountain on the way to Lonsheng, but luckily over the top, and we had a sunny day in the rice fields. All in all we had great weather throughout the trip (as usual through our trips to China).

For the first time in China, we were hit by illness. Nothing serious, but Lene had two rounds, Steven one round and Daji two rounds with upset stomachs, some high temperatures and Daji vomiting after a trip to McDonalds. Steven badly cut his long finger on his right hand whilst playing pool (!?!?) and fell on the wall and cut his elbow. Only Yanmei went free.

Although we always walk a lot whilst on holiday, this must be the holiday we walked furthest. 10kms on the Wall in difficult conditions was the hardest; the rice fields in Ping An follow closely behind, as do the 10km in the mountains in the summer resort in Chengde. Add to that very long walks in the Summer Palace in Beijing and on the wall surrounding Pingyao, as well as the days in Beijing (just walking Wangfujing back and forth is close to 4km!). Daji regularly clocked up 40.000 steps on his step counter no wonder he was out like a light as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Yet again we had a fantastic trip. We experienced 22 vastly different days in China and left tired, but again far richer for the experience. Read our day-by-day description of our fourth trip to China. The itinerary is outlined above, and you see the day by day description by clicking on the specific dates in the menu above.

If you decide to read on, which we hope you do, please enjoy the pictures and the text, but please also remember that the description is primarily meant for us - for us to remember the details of our fifth trip to China. Some of the detail will be of little or more likely no interest to you, the reader, at all. We hope you enjoy it anyway.

NEXT DAY (29th)