Moving to Beijing was more than just a change of scenery for me. It was also the opportunity to experience my first long-distance road trip in China.
So what was it like driving from Hangzhou to Beijing? And what were some of the sights we saw along the way? Here’s a photo essay with some of the highlights of our journey.
Our road trip began at 6:30am on Friday, Oct. 20. Here’s our final photo before we hit the road. Can you see just how packed the car is in the background? 😉
We traversed the mountainous region of southern Anhui province.
We crossed a long series of bridges lunging across the great Yangtze River, leaving behind the Jiangnan region we’ve called home for so many years.
At a rest stop in Anhui province, we enjoy a quick lunch of vegetarian baozi Jun’s mom prepared just for our trip. (Thank you mother-in-law!)
By the afternoon, we had already made it into Shandong province, where this rest stop is located.
Before we knew it, our exit for the night appeared — Qufu, Shandong province, where Confucius was born.
After we checked into our hotel and enjoyed a dinner of noodles, we walked around the city walls from the Ming dynasty, which made Qufu feel like a very traditionally Chinese city.
Isn’t that city gate just stunning at night?
The following day, we sped across another renowned river in China, the Yellow River.
But our journey wasn’t without a few hiccups. As we neared the border between Shandong and Hebei province, traffic screeched to a halt on the highway. It was so bad everyone turned the ignition off and even got out of their vehicles to roam around the highway.
After running into a second traffic jam, we decided it was time for a detour. We left the highway, crossing into Hebei province on a smaller road close to the highway.
Unfortunately, we were delayed once again at the border between Hebei province and Beijing. It took us an entire hour to cover 1 kilometer! Even worse, the service station (also known as the only place nearby with bathrooms) happened to be closed. Yikes! After spending an hour with my legs clenched together, we had to pull over on the side of the road so I could relieve myself. (Thankfully, it was totally dark without a single street light and I used the car door to shield myself from any would-be voyeurs.)
We finally arrived that evening at 8 o’clock, when I had my first glimpse of the China Daily building. How wonderful to see our new home, glowing like a lantern lighting the way to our brighter future.
Let the new chapter in our lives begin — our Beijing adventures!