During the April break, an excited group of 27 students, parents and staff boarded an airplane at YYC, heading to an adventure in China. Expectations were high and were greatly exceeded. The 8 days in China were fast paced and the time sped by as we became immersed in learning about the world’s most populous and fourth largest country. The packed itinerary included a visit to a jade factory, the iconic Great Wall, a Peking Duck dinner and a spectacular Kung Fu show, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the 2008 Olympics Games site. While in Beijing, we visited the Temple of Heaven, took a calming Tai Chi lesson in the park and a cooking lesson at a very welcoming Vocational High School. A rickshaw tour and home cooked dinner in the Hutong area was very memorable, as were the visits to a silk factory and the Summer Palace.

The bullet train ride was relaxing as we smoothly zoomed at 300 kph to the ancient city of Xi’an, where we enjoyed a visit to the Terra Cotta Warriors. We viewed the historic City Wall, Drum Tower and Bell Tower, beautifully illuminated at night. A definite trip highlight was renting bikes on the wall and most of the group was able to ride the entire 14 km rectangular circuit. Exploring the Muslim Quarter, practicing Chinese calligraphy at a Buddhist Temple, and experiencing another traditional Chinese theatre production filled our final day. Thanks to our wonderful guides we heard many stories and learned so much, from historical accounts to explanations of many cultural traditions. We were most fortunate to be able to attend 5 exciting live shows, visit excellent museums and partake of authentic Chinese cuisine. We were blessed with reasonable air quality and blue skies for most of the trip. China surprised us for the better in so many ways; we loved every minute.

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