1.12.017 Qingdao 

The weather couldn’t have been more different to yesterday! Bright blue sky, no gale force winds (well, slightly less gale force winds) and warmer (well, only by about 2 degrees but we are taking every degree as a massive boost). We are using a new weather app, Mo Weather, which as well as giving the usual boring info about temperatures,  gale warnings, air quality (v important here!!) it also advises on what make up to wear (oily today) and whether you should wash your car (not today), also it is appropriate to go fishing, partake in sports amongst other fascinating facts.

Oily make up applied we set off to see the Governors House albeit without our trusty Maps.me app so we have to navigate through the back streets of Qingdao using our instinct so are amazed to end up at the Governor’s House with no major upsets. The back streets of the town are reminiscent of Whitby in their style only with a flavour (and smell) of Asia thrown in, e.g. pavements upended, scooters darting around and rubbish everywhere. No fish n chip shops though 😭

My Aunt taught English here for a year in 2013 and had recommended sights for us to see, thankfully the beer museum was on that list as was the Governors House, along with some seafood to try but as we explained before we chickened (!!) out of that. I must admit it is a lovely city to stay in, just a couple of hours from Beijing, with a long seafront and a relaxed atmosphere, we loved it. 

The governor’s house was fabulous, it was built in 1904 and used until 1913 and cost a fortune. It was decked out in the style of the times, art deco, so has wood paneling everywhere, wide door frames, high ceilings and jade green tiles for sinks and fireplaces. No photos allowed but you can see some on Trip advisor  There was also a number of photos of Qufu at the turn of the century which look like northern town terraces but with Chinese coolies and European gents in the foreground. None of these buildings are still standing.

We then embarked on the coastal walk to the May 4th monument (insert your own Star Wars joke), which involved our longest days walk so far, 13.84 miles according to my trusty fitbit. We wandered through bottle brush trees, pavilions, parks and followed a coastal walkway which was new with no missing slabs or holes. Along the way we encountered many, many, brides and grooms having wedding photos taken. We estimated about 70, yes seventy couples having photos taken on a Monday on a beach in China. Notable ones were one with a white corset and red net fluffy skirt, an aqua marine blue dress of which the skirt was thigh high and a groom in a pale pink suit. On one beach they were lining up to have photos taken on a very patient white horse. It is things like this that you encounter which are fascinating.

 

We walked along No1 and No2 bathing beaches, naming conventions are easy to understand. We watched the locals swimming (it was barely 7 degrees), playing ball games (next to the sign which prohibited ball games), men jogging (in miniscule Speedos) and doing weights in the communal gyms situated along the beach and in parks everywhere. Guy refused to join in. 

The last beach, No3 bathing beach, had loads of souvenir shops all selling the same stuff, shells, bucket, spade, coral (probably illegal) but no fridge magnets (for Guy’s collection) or postcards (to send to my nieces and nephew). Fisherman also sell their catch of the day from plastic bowls with the locals haggling hard. 

Finally we make it to the other part of Qingdao which is full of skyscrapers, Olympic sailing village and banks, a lot of banks.

The May the 4th monument is large and red. We have no idea how this represents the student protests against the European powers giving Chinese port towns to Japan at the end of WW2, Wikipedia may know?

 

We started our long walk back and saw brides and groom still waiting to have photos taken, some with coats on to keep warm, some having makeup and hair touched up. 

We were starving by now and found some chilli peanuts at the bottom of the rucksack. They were Sichuan or flower pepper flavour so as well as being spicy were also mildly anaesthetic. Ace! We ate loads and had hot numb mouths. 

Back to our beach area and we were in need of a boost, a French patisserie appears like a vision on the horizon, and it was no mirage. I stormed ahead to get donuts and chose a white chocolate and almond one and a cup of lemon tea (hot water on candied peel – double sugar). 

Fuelled up and still needing food we went back into town to look for a warming bowl of noodle soup. We found a small cafe around the corner from our hostel and pointed at what we thought was noodle soup. We paid our 4 quid and waited. We were slightly surprised when a bowl of steamy hot noodles arrived topped off with beef in black bean sauce, cucumber and beans sprouts (all fridge cold) was presented to us. After getting over our disappointment of it not being noodle soup we actually loved this dish, the black beans were slightly fermented so were tangy and the noodles were so hot that once you mixed it all together it was all hot anyway. 

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