Suzhou to Beijing
We had booked another G train (the high-speed train) from Suzhou to Beijing. Suzhou is the second station on the line between Shanghai and Beijing. This is the famous Jinghu High-Speed Railway. The line is 1,300km long (819 miles) and on it is the world’s longest bridge, spanning 164km (102 miles). The train line also crosses the second longest bridge in the world which is 70 miles long.
As usual the train was quiet by Chinese standards and pretty comfortable. The whole length of the track is raised about 10m above the ground on huge concrete pillars and it’s almost like flying very close to the ground. We glided just above the Chinese countryside in comfort and arrived in Beijing in the mid afternoon.
Beijing has a huge metro system and the hostel we’d booked was literally outside a metro station. Riding the Beijing metro is very easy, all signs and announcements are in English and it’s a flat rate 2 RMB (20p) to go anywhere in the city. At the hostel we had to wait 10 minutes for the guy to check in a group of 4. Finally when he got to us he told us the room was unavailable and spouted some crap about the fire department declaring it was safe and the hostel just had to get it ready. Based on his questions about when had we made the booking and stating the booking hadn’t come through till that morning it’s more likely they’d double booked the room. Either way he had a replacement hostel down the road ready for us. The replacement hostel was pretty good and had the tour we wanted (to the Great Wall) for less than the first hostel, so we decided to stay there for the whole time we’d be in Beijing.
It was now time to eat and we found a really nice sounding restaurant. Ignoring the budget we decided it would be a nice treat. The restaurant was an organic vegetarian restaurant serving western food. Annemarie had a bean burger and I had tomato pasta. We both had chocolate cake for pudding. Washed down with some cider it was a very nice meal. It was also one of the most expensive we’ve eaten on the trip.
Posted from Qingdao, Shandong, China.