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China – Beijing – Train tickets and Vegetarian Food 21st November

Xi’an and the Terracotta warriors have been on our to-do list before we even left the UK and we have decided on some dates for when we can pay them a visit. You can fly quite cheaply with CTRIP but we wanted to catch the over night train from Beijing so we could sleep and travel. This required us to purchase our first train ticket. Seat 61 is a great website for finding out information on trains in China, so armed with the information we headed to Beijing West train station. A massive building but nowhere the quality of Beijing South station, it was rammed to the rafters with people and luggage. With no English service desk in sight we picked a random window and tried our luck, no luck, however the next window along had an English speaking lady so we sorted the tickets out. We left as quickly as possible due to stress building rapidly from the shear quantity of people and lack of organisation in such public buildings. It isn’t linked in with a subway line at present but if you know the bus routes and the location of the nearest tube you can get there pretty easily.

The subway home, relax time with some editing of photos, diary writing followed by a walk to the nearby lake and internet cafe to upload our new updates. We knew of a vegetation restaurant at the top of the lake and it was only a short distance from where we had been editing away. The Lotus Leaf restaurant founded by Buddhist monks offers a broad selection of vegetarian food. The venue had a chill in the air however the food was very good with fake meat (tofu fashioned into meat textures and flavour) and spicy sauces. Beer is non-alcoholic here and tasted very malty but washed the spice down very well. All in all a good find.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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