Welcome to Xiamen! Winter 2013/2014

Chapter: Travel Moments

Harnessing (ok more like totally relying on) the power of the internet, I’m capable of booking air tickets less than 2 days before departure date after feeling convinced that a 5-day getaway could do the mind some good.

My family was talking over dinner when we felt we could go somewhere over the new year holidays. Seoul, Tokyo and Taipei were destinations cited. But unexpectedly my sister called out Xiamen in China, the city where my grandpas (both paternal and maternal) came from. None of us had been there, so we all agreed. We set off quickly to compare airfares, and read hotel reviews. We had to hurry.

Less than 44 hours later, we were on our way on a 4-hour flight.

We began our journey upon arrival by taking an evening stroll along a shopping street at Zhongshan Road. Traffic was closed for the day so that pedestrians could walk freely on the road.

The next day we took a ferry ride on to Gulangyu, a must-see for every visitor to Xiamen.

The Union Church and the Zheng Cheng Gong statue.

No vehicles are allowed on the island except for fire engines and buggies. So lots of walking, and lots of climbing stairs to get to the top for overviews.

On another day we joined a local tour for a day trip to view the circular and squarish earthen homes called Tulou (土楼) in Yongding. This turned out to be the main highlight of our trip.

Our lunch served at a local eatery was simple and appetising. I’m still reminiscing the meal of fried fish and vegetables!

Finally on the last day we dropped by Xiamen University, our paternal grandpa’s alma mater.

Parts of the campus are open to visitors from certain hours of the day, free of charge, but passports are required for verification at the entrance.

The weather in Xiamen was cool and comfortable. The shops and restaurants we went to (or wanted to go) didn’t accept credit cards issued outside the country. The free Wi-Fi at our hotel was simply fantastic!

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