My first impression of Qingdao was of a typical seaside town...a little run-down, and dominated by small, locally run seafood cafes. However after walking along the seafront it was obvious that, like most of China, tourism was taking over. The level of Westernised development was incredible.
She just wants someone to play with...
I got two stickers, I'm clearly her favourite!
Hula hooping after dinner!
As a group we decided that tandem bikes would be a much more exciting way to explore the seafront. As there were 5 of us, we opted for 2 tandems and a normal bike, swapping over whenever one of us would tire of struggling to control the tandem.
A pleasant bike ride by the sea
Star fish (it was dead, but still looked pretty!)
The highlight of the 'Tsing Tao Beer Museum' was the 'drunken room'. I still think there was something more to this room than it simply being being tilted...I haven't felt that drunk in a long time!
We tested our dumpling making skills at the hostel. You then got to taste your creations, in an all-you-can-eat dumpling fest.
Dinner...made with our very own hands
Kate and Ash making dumplings
Dumpling Hedge hog
On the last day in Qingdao we made the epic journey to Mount Laoshan. After taking 2 buses to get to the National Park, it then took another 1.5 hours to get to the mountain itself. Each bus stops for 20 minutes at each stop in the park...and the mountain was the last stop.
At peace on Mount Laoshan
However, the wait was worth it...the best part being the section through the narrow caves...
Wise words of warning from the Chinese!
On the way back to the entrance, Tim decides we should partake in one last hike of the day. By this point it is late afternoon, and we are a little worried about getting stranded in the park. However, we forget about the impending dark when we discover a bed of yellow leaves under an enormous tree. Thinking this opportunity is too good to miss, we (very easily) convince Matt to strip down to his shorts, lay down on the ground, and begin to cover him in leaves, parodying the famous scene from American Beauty...
American Beauty photoshoot
American Beauty Photoshoot
As we reach the road it is after 5pm. With no street lights we hope that we have not missed the last bus. Tim flags down a taxi and keeps him talking just in case the last bus does not turn up at 5:30pm. As soon as we see the large headlights turn the corner, we breath a sigh of relief and send the taxi driver on his way.
First bus down, we are then stranded on the dual-carriage way waiting for our bus back to Qingdao. One bus drives straight past us, so half an hour later when we see the next bus Tim risks his life for us, by standing in the middle of the road until the bus screeches to a stand still. Tour guides all over the world should learn from this committment to the job!