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I unexpectedly spent 10 days in Tianjin

View Jilin 2018-2019 & Greece trip, 2018 on baixing's travel map.

Sept. 26
It's National Week again and I decided at the last second to go to Tianjin. The only train tickets available were at really stupid times. I arrived at midnight, and then went back home at 4 a.m. Fine, I guess, what are you gonna do on the busiest travel days of the year?

So, I walked to Three Brothers Hostel from the train station and it took two hours. A lovely lady in a bar across the street helped me call the owner to let me in. I was staying in the "Five avenues" area, a place that looked and felt a lot like Shanghai. It was very leafy and quiet, really a nice difference from everywhere else in China.

Sept. 27
The next day I went to the huge museums about an hour walk south of the hostel. I just spent the entire day looking at endless cabinets of pottery, china and jade. There was also a nice art museum that had an exhibition of Michaelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael. For free! Pretty great.

Sept. 28
I went wandering to the north this time, to "Culture Street", and the buddhist and Confucius temples.
I climbed up the drum tower, where people used to keep time manually, with a huge drum.

There was also a beautiful old opera and puppet theatre with a couple old frescoes on the walls.

Sept. 29
It was architecture tour day. I walked to "China House", a tacky old building covered in junk.

Then I went down to the treaty port area, where stone bank, law and insurance buildings still stood, just as stoic and solid as the day they were built.

I ended up walking down the pedestrian shopping street until reaching St. Joseph's church, the oldest in the city.

Sept. 30
Way out in the suburbs there was an old mansion, built by a rich family in 1875. I took a little nap in the garden before catching the bus and snoozing again, all the way back to town.

The Great Canal was there beside the mansion, and it's interesting to know that you could theoretically take a boat all the way to Beijing from there.

When I got back, the hostel owners were anxious about my plans, understandably, they wanted to know if they could sell my bed to someone else. I wanted to go to the great wall at some point, at the spot where it meets the ocean, but I looked at the price of hotels and they had shot way up. I finally admitted to the owners that I would not be leaving Tianjin until Oct. 6. Bummer, but they were happy that I would stay.

Oct. 1
I decided to splash out on a buffet lunch at the Shangri La hotel. It was really amazing. There was a ton of seafood, some mind blowing roasted duck, cappuccinos with mousse and creme brûlée for dessert. Didn't have my camera but it looked like this:

I also wanted to buy a new watch that day, so afterwards, I rolled myself over to what I thought was an electronics market. I thought maybe I'd buy a smart watch, but I decided on just a cheap one that I found at a weird accessories only mall across the street. The electronics market didn't seem to have much besides computers anyway.

Oct. 2
Then I spent three days doing nothing with other people in the hostel. I went walking around all day the first day with a crazy couple. I thought we were just getting lunch together, but it turned into an all day affair. Eventually, they left me downtown and I walked back alone alongside the lit up colonial buildings on the canal. I didn't get any photos because I didn't bring my camera since I thought we were only having lunch. It was also absolutely packed with people, so it wouldn't really have been fun to do anyway. I found my way back home and drank a litre of aloe juice thoroughly exhausted and dehydrated.
Here's a photos of the views at night: tianjin_at_night_by_uncle_sam_hk-d5kvwnx.jpg

Oct. 3
I rented a bike with a nice lady and we went to visit some famous university campuses. One of them was Tianjin university, but I can't remember the others. We also went to "Italy Village" which is nice, but I didn't think it looked like Italy at all.

Oct. 4
I had signed up for a couchsurfing even but no one else did, so I just met up with the organizer, who showed me an old French Catholic church, destroyed twice in the Boxer Rebellions, and a huge Buddhist temple established in 1436, with a statue of Guanyin that has eyes which follow you around the room. We had sichuanese food for lunch and then I went out a few hours later for hot pot with more hostel people. Ugh too much food again.
Oct. 5
The last day in Tianjin, I stayed close to home, had a crepe for lunch and wandered around looking at buildings.

The main plaza in my neighbourhood was built by Eric Liddell, the famous runner in Chariots of Fire. It used to be a football stadium but only the running track remains.

Eric Liddell was born in Tianjin actually, but grew up in Scotland. He went back to China in 1925 to become a missionary. He eventually died in an internment camp in 1945. I found an unlocked share-bike, so I went around town on that for the rest of the day.

The hostel owner was worried about me walking back to the train station for my 4 a.m. train so she volunteered to drive me on her scooter. She was really kind to me all week and she wouldn't let me leave by myself. It was a really relaxing holiday with zero stress. Three Brothers Hostel is very plain, but it's in a nice location and you cannot beat the staff there.

Posted by baixing 22:00 Archived in China Tagged tianjin hebei

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Sounds like you had a great time. What a nice lady at the hostel.

by Marian Brown

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