When three dear grandchildren and their mom and dad live in China and Spring Break comes around, what do you do? Jim and I said, "let's go" and we booked a trip to China. Qatar Airways made the flight from Philadelphia to Beijing in 20 hours (with an interesting plane change in Doha). Our son Jim was a welcome sight as he met us at the Beijing airport hotel after we had slept a few hours and together we rode the fast train (200mph!!) to Tianjin arriving just in time to meet Grace, Ruby and August and Irish coming home from school. They live in a beautiful house close to school and the children made "Welcome to China" greetings for us.
Then best of all, the next day we went to the International School of Tianjin and spent most of their last day before Spring Break visiting everyone's classrooms and attending a school assembly where Ruby received an award. The school campus and classrooms are beautiful. Small classes with students and teachers from many countries. We had lunch in the school cafeteria and chose an ice cream dessert with money August gave us from his wallet as a treat. I have wanted to actually see where everyone spent their days and now I'm happy to picture the whole family in a really great place.
Next day Irish went to San Francisco to visit a friend. The rest of us visited an interesting history museum in Tianjin. We also had a great lunch and get together with my cousin and her husband who has worked in China for 10 years.
Soon after we took off by train with Jim and the children to Suzhou and later to Shanghai. Jim is a well seasoned travel planner and the choice of these two cities was perfect-old and new China. In Suzhou we visited one of the finest gardens in all of southern China dating back to 1513, the Humble Administrator's Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We had breakfasts from street vendors, stopped in small shops along narrow streets, and saw a Chinese town much as it looked years ago.
From there we boarded the train and sped off to Shanghai, a city of 18 million and home to the world's 2nd tallest building "Shanghai Tower" and its surrounding very tall neighbors. Shanghai is a vibrant, exciting and very busy international city. In addition to a huge shipping port it's also a financial center and home to many wold companies.
Irish flew back in time to meet up for a trip to Shanghai Disney.
|"I caught a fish THIS BIG!"|
By the end of the week it was time to return to
Tianjin and we once again boarded the train for the 5 hour ride North. Ruby, Grace and August are really good travelers. We played hangman, read books and talked and watched a more rural landscape speed by. At the Tianjin station we said goodbye as the China Farleys had to go home and get ready for a new school week. Jim and I continued to Beijing and extended our trip to Asia by visiting Hong Kong and Vietnam. After a fantastic trip to the other side of the world, we're looking forward to seeing Jim, Irish, Grace, Ruby and August again in Denver, Colorado this summer.
Irish here. Side note:
|Not pictured: Katie's pre-pregnancy jeans, which she was wearing|