Australia has got to be one of the most outstanding countries you can visit, but due to the cost of living and its location in the world, as budget travellers we were somewhat struggling to leave, especially as we wanted to head towards Central America. Finally with enough money saved, we were ready to say g’day to down under!
It turned out that the cheapest flight, although it would require enduring six planes over three days, provided us with a 14-hour window in Beijing. Score!
With such a long stopover, our airline Air China provided passengers with free overnight accommodation near the airport.
Having flown from Perth to Melbourne, to Shanghai and then to Beijing, we got to our hotel at 11pm China time. Six hour nap, three hours to explore, back to the airport in plenty of time – what a plan! Whilst the hotel staff initially fussed over our desire to venture into town (“but you have a plane to catch??”) they arranged for a car to take us to see some of the sights.
It was a bit of a way into town, but we had enough time for a quick trip to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. One catch: Beijing was so smoggy that we had to actually squint through the mist to take in our surroundings! This was also the first time we had visited a country where we spoke not one word of the language – it was tricky to communicate when we were gasping for a cup of Chinese tea!
As if the language barrier didn’t provide enough entertainment for the locals, our checked luggage was being safely taken care of by Air China and we had only our Australia summer attire. For the first time in 13 months… we were cold!
Back to the airport and in plenty of time (unusual for us) there was one thing left to do before leaving China’s capital – some Peking Duck! Whilst probably not the most authentic place to acquire some, we had the most delicious duck and pancakes of our lives, washed down with some jasmine tea!
Charlotte & Sarah x