There is no way to describe China briefly. We visited Dalian, Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, all of which are now unbelievably modern cities. China has changed dramatically since I was first here in the mid 80s. While the tourist attractions are still a high point, the new parts of China are becoming equally as interesting. These days there are millions of Chinese that are traveling within their own country so everything is crowded. I escorted a shore excursion to the Summer Palace & the Great Wall of China. There are 1.3 billion people in China and I am convinced that .3 billion were at the Summer Palace that day. Our group was overwhelmed by the crowds who made it difficult to really see the buildings in their magnificence. If you think of a New York City subway crowd at rush hour and then triple the pushy part and the number of people, you might come close to the scene. I am not discouraging you from visiting, but you do need to be prepared for the adventure. The Great Wall was its usual amazing self and quite beautiful in the late afternoon light. The part we visited had a gorgeous village at its foot and the fall colors just added to its beauty.
Joanne Gardner is Amsterdam’s future cruise consultant.