We can never get enough of this wonderful, dynamic and spiritual city. While Beijing may have it's share of problems like pollution and crowded subways, streets.. what makes Beijing, Beijing is a feeling that needs to be experienced to be understood. The feeling is free, and if you can jump the Chinese language barriers you are good to go and adventure wherever you like.
Not everyone can study the language with limits of time or simply a lack of courageousness. For those folks who want to walk to Beijing streets like a local, search for a private tour guide in Beijing and you're in for a treat. In a lot of western cities people don't use tour guides unless they move in bigger groups. In China however, a lot of people use private tour guides, who are just like friends to accompany with you and most importantly, to have fun together with you.
If you have never been on one, I highly recommend it. The price is usually very reasonable too, and they can even help you haggle at stores so you can end up saving money! Sounds like a deal too good to be true? Well, that's just part of the Beijing experience I'm trying to explain to you. But go there before you really decide anything for yourself. Some love it, some hate it. Personally, I have both feelings because I love it so much! Are you getting me? If not, China calls!
One of the winter highlights of the world are the massive glowing glaciers and one of the closest places to go and see them is Alaska. Just head towards Fairbanks and hop on a small airplane.. and be ready to witness one of the most beautiful phenomena in the whole world.
I once got this opportunity by hitchhiking on that particular road, between fairbanks and anchorage. I got a ride on the side of a road and well.. it just happened that he was on his way for a little flight with his small airplane. So he invited me to come along to fly over some glaciers.
They are so massive that going there by foot or car is simply impossible. Grasping the hugeness was simply eye blinding. This is the most amazing photo I got from there!
Beijing as well as the rest of China is one of those places where I have a kind of hate/love relationship. I could make huge list of things that I hate about the city, which I won't.. but some include pollution, dirtiness, chaos and touts. But this city is no doom and gloom, but full of adventure and places to see and visit. What's special about Beijing is that it's the place where the maoist vibe is still the strongest although it's form has been changed from overly glorious communistic paintings to huge LCD screens blasting away how great everything is.
Tourism is mainly focused on boring monuments, which is what Chinese government would like you to see. They have well managed to hide the underground scene, which in return blossoms in a very cool way. While in the west underground is becoming a joke, here communism is becoming one and great parties are held in small venues all over the city. To find them is not that easy, but once you get into one you can finally meet the freedom thinking locals which can update you on what's happening in the city where time goes blazing fast.
If you are looking for a night show, forget about acrobatics and all that shit. One place where time is still standing is the Red Theatre in Beijing where a huge crowd of martial artists put up an amazing kung Fu performance every single day. Yes, it's one of the few remaining places where tourists can see Chinese tradition at it's most beautiful. Even though the performers are not Shaolin Monks, there is nothing fake here as the amount of skill is simply stunning. If you want to see the monks you unfortunately have to become one. Which can be arranged in the land of possibilities. Luckily the "Red" in Red Theatre does not signify anything communistic. So do not be afraid and grab a glimpse of Beijing show night life.
Not that many venture into the cold capital of Helsinki, making it a fresh and interesting destination for those not interested in the regular backpacking routes. As someone whos been there several times I would like to take this opportunity to break some ice. The Summer is really nice there, not too hot and the air is very fresh. So if you don't live there you can just go to enjoy the amazing summer when literally all Finns go crazy, throw their clothes off and party. For the residents however the story is often sad, as it seems many just want to escape the country during the cold winter. But I have also met many warm Finns that are smart enough to stay warm during the winter and enjoy it. When the country is covered in white snow, everywhere is silent, beautiful and bright that is when another kind of majick comes around! If you do decide to go over the summer which most do and it's highly recommended for your first time... check out some of the brilliant summer festivals that are held all over this nature abundant land!
I've been to Venice so many times and could never get bored of it. I use to live in Verona and that's only an hours train trip from there. It's such a romantic place and indeed most trips I spent there with my ex. Italian girlfriend. The place is just endless adventure, beyond much more than the typical touristic sites. You can wonder around the carless city and stroll down the small streets to see a glimpse of the local life.
The local life seems to revolve around very small circles which makes the atmosphere in Venice so unique. Despite the small feeling the city is rather big, despite its almost 300 thousand population. I guess it's because the place is so deeply rooted in history that so are the people. Makes you wonder what will happen to the place when the elderly will pass away. Is there an endless supply of old Italian grandmothers with a temperament that keeps the large family in order. I like to think there are.
Backpacker Type 2013-2014 (c) Xin Qian