Xi’an in December

Xi'an in December 2014

Our Honeymoon Part I
Country: China
City: Xi’an

Back in December 2014, we went on our honeymoon. It was my husband’s first trip China! Our first stop was Beijing, which you can read about here.

Our second stop along our journey as newlyweds brought us to the bustling city of Xi’an. The weather was cold, but not as cold as it was Beijing. 

Our itinerary prior to visiting:

Screenshot of Xian Itinerary

Prior to this trip, I had never been there before. So, I did not know what to expect. We ended up staying at the Hilton Xian, which came with a breakfast buffet. Overall, it was a nice stay. 

Cost for one night: $148.70.

Terracotta Warriors

The main reason I had wanted to visit Xi’an was to see the Terracotta Warriors, which was outside of the main city. We ended up finding a shuttle to see the attraction. Here are some of the things we saw along the way.

After purchasing our tickets from the office, we soon realized we would be seeing a lot of statues that afternoon. Indeed we did. It was as if we were seeing warriors and horses over and over again. Although it was interesting to see the different exhibits, we couldn’t help but ponder if this type of visit was our cup of tea.  We’re not huge history buffs or anything. And just seeing a few made me realize that it was more than enough.

The Journey Back

We had to find a way back to the hotel that evening, so we just listened to the ladies calling us back to the city. We took a shuttle and ended up staying in that evening because we were too tired to explore. Our hotel overlooked the city wall, so we felt as though we didn’t need to actually visit it.

Could not think of a more wonderful way to relax than to soak in the hotel’s wonderful tub! 

More to come on our honeymoon in China! Next stop: Luoyang.

Beijing in December

Our Honeymoon Part I

Country: China
City: Beijing

Back in December 2014, we took our honeymoon. It was my husband’s first trip China! Our itinerary:

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 11.48.57 AM

This was our view from our room at the Hilton Beijing Wangfujing.

It was definitely a nice contrast between where we stayed and the hustle and bustle of the city. Beijing is one of those cities which is so rich in its history and culture. It’s absolutely beautiful during the winter season. Cold, yes! But, so magical.

In Beijing, we visited the Great Wall of China. Initially I wanted to explore a section of the wall I had never seen before, but we ended up getting swindled by a tour agency we came across right next to our hotel. They piled us onto a bus full of Chinese tourists heading to the Badaling entrance (one of the most popular entrances).

We also went to the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and tasted some local street food!

I loved going to Beijing in December. There weren’t as many tourists on the Great Wall as there would be during the summer months. And, it wasn’t scorching hot.

Must-Eat!

In Beijing, you must try the duck. We went to Quanjude Restaurant. It had a very tasty and filling roast duck. Delicious! We enjoyed our experience.

Street food is also a must! While very different than a high-end restaurant, you get to try new and different things. And, I honestly have never had any stomach issues when in China. Although, I am not allergic to any foods, so if you have allergies are or wary I would recommend staying away from street food.

Transportation

We used taxis and the intricate subway system while traveling around Beijing. For our Great Wall day trip, we utilized a tour agency and boarded a large bus. We sort of regretted this decision, mostly because we would have liked the flexibility of going on our own.

Transportation within Beijing is very cheap. The cost of our living accommodations = the bulk of our expenses.

Preparation before Departure

Traveling in Beijing in December required us to pack some warm clothing. Temperatures are similar to the New England area in the States.

We were prepared and brought our winter coats, hats, gloves, and boots! It was such a lovely experience!

One thing we also did was exchange some money beforehand. This way we had some cash on hand.

Hope you enjoyed reading about our Beijing portion of our honeymoon!

Honeymooning China

Happy December, everyone!

The beginning of December brings back lots of wonderful memories for our family.

Honeymoon

My husband and I got married on November 29, 2014.

After our winter-themed wedding, we were off to China! Prior to this trip, I had traveled to China over ten times over my life, either with family, for pleasure, for study and for work.

This was Michael’s first trip there, and it was a very exciting time for the both of us. It was such a wonderful way to kick-start this chapter of our lives. It’s been four years since we both traveled across the world.

But, it’s December again and I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.

Here was our 2014 itinerary:

I planned everything, from start to finish. We didn’t plan on using any tour services. Although, we ended up booking one to the Great Wall when we got to Beijing.

Little Passports

Chinese Visa for U.S. Citizens

One of the things we needed to do before our trip to China was to obtain Chinese visas for our U.S. Passports. The laws have changed over the years, but when in doubt, refer to the following resources:

  1. Chinese Embassy in the U.S.
  2. U.S. Department of State

We ended up filling out the form online (via the Chinese Embassy’s website), and then bringing our documents to the embassy in New York, NY. We lined up and dropped off our forms. Then, we get to pick it up in the afternoon with our receipt.  That’s what we did.

China Visa

If you don’t have the time or energy, you can pay an agency to obtain your visa for you, or you can use a mail-in service.

RushMyPassport.com

Our Adventure

This portion of the trip was definitely an adventure, from navigating and eating our way through the country. One area Michael didn’t want to compromise were our living accommodations. We selected 4 star+ hotels vs. lesser known hotels. It was a wonderful decision with money well spent.

Michael loved it all. It was a different perspective, and it was such a wonderful bonding experience for us both!

After the trip, I made a Shutterfly album which I have shared below! Enjoy:)

Click here to view this photo book larger

You’ll love award-winning Shutterfly photo books. Start your own today.
Samsonite

The 50 States: A Road Trip of a Lifetime

Conclusions & New Beginnings

Happy New Year!

Ah, it’s already 2015!!!  In the New England region, we have experienced our first “Blizzard” of the year on Tuesday.

Some photos from China and Hawaii:

It has already been one month since we returned from our honeymoon in China and Hawaii, and it is very hard to put into words how meaningful these past few months have been for us.  It has given us the chance to experience so much. So we are now in the process of settling down into reality, and I am also sorting through all of our photos to create some memorable tangible scrapbooks to capture our journey on paper. We are fortunate enough to have had the time to reboot and reassess our priorities in life, and we are blessed to have such a supportive group of family and friends.

Random thought: Made homemade pizza the other day! Doesn’t it look tasty?

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Back to the real world now 🙂 Onto planning the next trip: Milan for the 2015 World Expo

Destination: China!

I’m going to start off by saying that having free Wifi in the airport is such a nice perk!

Our beautiful wedding went without a hitch, and we can’t begin to thank everyone who took the time to attend this past Thanksgiving weekend. We definitely had something special to be thankful about this year:)

candle-lighting wedding ceremony at the Warwick Crowne Plaza hotel in Rhode Island, USA

We are currently at the Toronto airport about to board our flight to Beijing, China. This will be Michael’s ever trip across the world, and we are both very excited.

This morning we both woke up at 4:30am, so my parents could drive us to Newark. It took us a little over an hour, and we ended up waiting over 2 hours at the airport before our flight took off. Michael was really avid on leaving early, but I like getting there and boarding within 10-20 minutes. Because I know he likes to be on time or really early, we left a lot earlier than normal.   Unfortunately our flight did get delayed a bit, but it definitely could have been worse.

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Some things we are noticing while we wait to board: I must say that the waiting areas in Terminal E at the airport are really neat! There are tables full of ipad stations where you are able to order food and access the internet.

Enjoying free wifi at the Toronto Airport en route to China

Bathrooms are way cleaner and more modern looking too! Oh and we can’t forget to mention the industrial-like airport walkway we experienced.

Just wanted to post something short for everyone to read (as a distraction) as the work day kicked off today for folks back home.