Valletta’s most magnificent building, the Grand Master’s Palace stands in the center of the town on Palace Square. The palace was commissioned in XVI century by Grand Master Fra Pietro del Monte as a residence for the Knights of Malta. Part of the building is now used as the House of Parliament and the office of the President of Malta.
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We went to Malta on a short but very needed holiday. We spent 2 nights in Valletta – the old city and capital, and then moved on to Bugibba for the reminder of our stay.
We wanted to make our stay special as it was A. birthday. What does it mean in this case? Stay in a fancy Palazzo Consiglia among the medieval walls of Valletta. And it was wonderful. We wandered the narrow streets of Malta’s capital, swam in roof top swimming pool and even got a complimentary bottle of Prosecco (Italian white wine, can be spumante (“sparkling wine”), frizzante (“semi-sparkling wine”), or tranquillo (“still wine”) – our was… cold and free! Delicious!).
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Shanghai made an insane impression on us. We were long looking for our hostel and almost gave up. Asked for directions so many different people and seemed to be walking in circles. Finally we got there. The room wasn’t great but it would have to do. We didn’t intend to spend there much time anyway.
In the evening we decided to go for a walk. I roughly had an idea which way was river so we followed my instincts. We ended up walking along really long narrow passage. It looked like two constructions sites on both sides. I was bravely pretending that I wasn’t afraid we will have to turn back… this is just me. Late in night walking foreign streets trusting only my sense of direction…
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This post will be about street food in Beijing. To be honest after previous travels in Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia it was nothing new to us. I think trying daring food is good to do once and then you can just stick to whatever is tasty.
Now what do I mean by daring food? Insects, chewy creatures of the sea, internal organs that never end up on western plates.
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Most of our stay it was raining in Pingyao. The streets and buildings were mostly grey still not without charm. As most sites however it looks even more charming in sunshine. Pingyao Old City was constructed in XIV century and was a financial center for the whole of China. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is plenty of museums to see, all located within traditional Chinese houses, dwellings and temples. Wanfo Shrine, the main shrine of Zhenguo Temple, dating back to the Five Dynasties, is one of China’s earliest and most precious timber structure buildings in existence.
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The evening we arrived from Beijing to Datong we were picked up by members of tour agency from the railway station. No it wasn’t pre arranged. As often happens they were waiting for tourist outside the station to sell tours. We agreed to call to the agency to see what they had on offer. On the train we met American couple who already told us they were going to head off there straight from the train. So no surprise we met them there and negotiated the tour for 5 instead of 3. The tour guide informed us the hanging monastery was closed and you could only see it from outside (bottom of the mountain they were placed on) but we would be able to see Yungang Grottoes. It was 2h car ride to the monastery one way so we decided to skip it. So we went to the grottoes in the morning (a separate post on this later) and then left the tour to see City of Datong. This post is on Huayan Monastery located in the heart of the city.
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The Palace Museum, founded in 1925, is a national museum housed inside the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of the Ming (1368-1683) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties and a World Heritage site since 1987. Treasure Gallery (Zhenbaoguan), Hall of Spiritual Cultivation, Hall of Joyful Longevity, Belvedere of Well-Nourished Harmony lies in the northeast part of the Palace Museum.
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