Category Archives: Travel Events

A Trip to Vietnam with Events & Adventures Dallas

Experience Vietnam with Events & Adventures Dallas

Vietnam, a country filled with many ancient cities and fascinating sights was a recent destination for Events & Adventures Dallas. Members boarded the flight for a 12-day journey throughout Vietnam, visiting incredible cities such as Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang, Hoi An and more. They immersed themselves in the culture by spending time with locals and traveling to many locations by foot. The group had no idea how close they would become by the end of this remarkable experience.

The trip to Vietnam began in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. This city in southern Vietnam is famous for its French colonial landmarks, including the Notre Dame Cathedral, made entirely of materials imported from France, and the 19thcentury Central Post Office. During the first morning, members were treated to a special three-wheel rickshaw tour in the Saigon French Quarter. The tour continued on a foot as they saw in person the Notre Dame Cathedral, Independence Palace and the beautiful Opera House. They also visited the Cu Chi Tunnels, a guerilla base during the Vietnam War. The tunnel system was created to hide and move supplies in South Vietnam during the war.

Members got to tour the dark tunnels and witness many of the war exhibits first hand

During the next day, members enjoyed the culture of Vietnam by heading south to visit the famous Mekong Delta. This region of Vietnam is a vast maze of rivers, swamps and islands. The group took a wooden boat cruise down the Mekong River to Tan Phong Island. While on the river, the sky opened up and started pouring down rain. This just caused more laughs among the members and turned out to be quite the refreshing experience.

The flight to Da Nang was the first of several intra-country flights. After landing in Da Nang, the group took a bus to Hoi An City, a location on Vietnam’s central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town. At night, the members went to see the amazing night lanterns light up the city and rise to the sky. After spending a few days touring the unique sights of Hoi An, it was time for another intra-country flight to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.

Hanoi was a highlight of the trip, especially due to the Ha Long Bay Cruise. This was an overnight luxury boat where members got to eat, relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Members also had the chance to tour Hanoi City, witnessing the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the temple of literature and the National Historical Museum.

The trip ended with one final surprise: a flight to Siem Reap, a resort town in northwestern Cambodia

The group visited Angkor Wat, a temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world. Members spent the entire day touring many of the ancient temples in the area and meeting the natives. The last night came faster than the members had hoped, but they were given a very special farewell dinner.

As the Events & Adventures Dallas members boarded the flight to go home, they couldn’t help but reflect on their gratitude for such an amazing experience. Not only did they embark on an unforgettable adventure, they made friendships that will last a lifetime. This trip to Vietnam was just one of many international trips that Events & Adventures offers its members. Stay tuned for a recap of the upcoming Antarctica trip. We can’t wait for the incredible stories to come!

the peru trip

The Peru Trip with Events & Adventures Houston

Journey to Peru with Events & Adventures Houston

Events & Adventures Houston had the experience of a lifetime as they ventured to Peru for a 10 day excursion. So much was in store for the members on this Peru trip, including a visit to Machu Picchu, several nights in the amazing city of Cusco and even a three-day trek through Peru’s Andes Mountains. Members were able to escape the mundane and immerse themselves in the fascinating culture of Peru. Every detail of this journey was planned and ready to go, members simply had to get on the plane and brace themselves for an adventure they’d never forget.

Members departed the states from Miami International Airport, heading straight for the Peruvian Andes. After the long flight, they arrived in Cusco, a beautiful city known for its archeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. The members were met by their Peruvian trip staff and tour guides, who brought them to their 4 star hotel. Everyone had a quick meet and greet while tasting Coca leaf tea, a traditional Peruvian drink that introduced them to the culture.

The next few days were spent exploring the city of Cusco and its incredible surroundings

Members enjoyed a tour of the main square, colonial churches and local markets. After everyone was adjusted to the high elevation of over 11,000 feet, they ventured outside city limits to visit the Inca Ruins. Many site-seeing opportunities presented themselves at Sacsayhuaman (temple of the Lightning), Qenqo (ceremonial place), Tambomachay (temple of the water and Coricancha (the temple of the sun).

After spending several days in Cusco and visiting the village of Pisac, it was time for the Lares Inca Trail trek through Peru’s Andes Mountains. This was a fun and exhilarating experience for the members as they got to scale mountaintops and catch a stunning view of some of the famous glacial mountain peaks up to 5,750 meters in height.

Towards the end of their Peru trip, members visited Machu Picchu, an Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains. They arrived early in the morning so they could witness a breathtaking sunrise over the majestic stronghold. After a guided tour through the complex, some of the members took a hike up Montana Mountain for an amazing view back down to Machu Picchu ruins and the surrounding area.

Although this challenging hike was not for the faint of heart, the rewarding view was well worth the journey

The 10 day Peru trip ended where it began, in the city of Cusco. The members were given a farewell group dinner at a beautiful restaurant in the city. This was their last chance to sample Peruvian cuisine, experience more music and culture from the Andes and socialize with fellow members. In the end, this amazing adventure in Peru was an unforgettable experience that left the members in awe. The group formed lasting friendships and will always remember this special trip that they spent together. Only with Events & Adventures can you enjoy a spectacular international adventure that you don’t even have to plan yourself. You never know where we’re going next!

European Trip Pictures

Lezzlie’s Amazing European Trip

Read about our European trip from last fall through the eyes of Lezzlie, one of our great members

We just received a letter from one of our great members who joined us on our European trip last fall. We’re excited to share with you what she had to say:

“I loved it! I went on the Switzerland, Austria and Germany trip in September 2017 and I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. The trip was very well planned. I would never have thought to do anything like that on my own. I also met some incredible people in the group who made the trip even more fun!

There were so many amazing things packed into the trip that it’s hard to remember them all

The area close to the hotel in Zurich was very quaint. Luckily, I found some girls who didn’t want to nap after lunch and we went bar hopping. Then we hung out in the hotel lobby with a bottle of wine which worked out wonderfully. No jetlag!

The bus tour of Zurich was very informative and gave us an opportunity to see some of the places farther away, while the walking part of the tour gave us the chance to experience the local sights. The highlights for me were the chocolates, cakes, and open air vegetable market.

The tour of Lucerne was fabulous

It’s such a charming city and we found some great beers there one Sunday morning.
The scenery was beautiful as we drove to Titlis. Once we got there, we all took the cable cars up to a giant rotating cable car near the top of the mountain. Also, at the top was a restaurant where we could arm ourselves with beers and food before enjoying Europe’s highest suspension bridge and the ice cave.

Lots of activities were offered in Interlakken, but we decided to take the train to Thun, which was very cool as well. There, I tasted the tiniest bite of horse tenderloin since one of the guys decided that was what he was ordering for dinner that night (gross…tasted like beef though).
Afterwards, one of us found the only nightclub in town and, of course, we closed the place down. It was a blast! Everyone was exhausted on the bus the next day.

The following day, we finally made it to Austria and found yet another club, partying until 4am or so. I missed the walking tour of Innsbruck the next morning, but one of the members took me on a personal tour later and pointed out the best sites as if she was the guide! It was a condensed version with a few bar stops in between. It was fun!

Then it was off to Neuschwanstein Castle, which was absolutely amazing (after you walked a mile or so up a steep hill and caught your breath). Coming down was much easier.

The scenery was beautiful and looked like it was right out of the Sound of Music

Lastly, we made it to Munich. Oktoberfest was incredible! Although Friday was fairly calm, we had lots of fun in the beer haus where we had lunch on Saturday.

Thanks so much, Events & Adventures, for this European trip, It was an unforgettable experience. I’m looking forward to Vietnam. If it’s anything close to this trip, it will be amazing! I can’t wait!”

~ Events & Adventures Member, Lezzlie

united kingdom tour

United Kingdom Tour with Events & Adventures

We’re only a few days into our United Kingdom tour and I can say the country is truly amazing. The people are very friendly and welcoming and there is so much to see and do! After landing at Heathrow we immediately headed north to start touring. We started in the Cotswolds and visited the home of Downton Abbey. We moved on to Stratford-Upon-Avon and had our first classic English dinner, fish and chips. Over dinner it was great meeting and getting to know all the people from the other Events & Adventures clubs around the country.

It was drizzly, so everyone’s opinion on the weather varied depending on where they were from and the weather back home. The members from Phoenix thought the rain was refreshing, while Seattleites thought nothing of it at all. Those of us from the south packed for ‘winter weather’ and have been enjoying the break from our 100% humidity!

Our first full day started at Shakespeare’s birthplace. We loved the actors in period attire that were so full of information. And yeah, I think we all found a treasure in the gift shop. Our Beatles fans were overwhelmed by Liverpool. If the Beatles had even the slightest thing to do with a place in town there were had entire stories created around it. We loved to see the actual Penny Lane and visit and learn about Strawberry Fields. The song and John’s very generous donation to the orphanage keep it open for many years after it was almost closed down.

At the end of the first day of our United Kingdom tour we arrived at a spectacular traditional hotel in the Lake District.

We had a lovely dinner in a gorgeous venue and setting, and it’s obvious why the area is a top wedding destination. After a rainy first day, on the second day of our United Kingdom tour the sun came out and stayed out all day! We visited the William Wordsworth Museum and Home. We all loved the 18th century home and the history of the family. From there we enjoyed a great paddle boat tour on the largest of the lakes in the district. The warm sun made up for the cool breeze. We all decided we wanted to live at the imposing castle that was overlooking the lake.

After the boat we headed into the fabulous town center, which was right out of a movie set. We scattered for lunch and a bit of shopping. Some of us tried the traditional meat pie with fresh cheese and bread. Some argued that their soup or salad was tastier, but I know better. After lunch we headed back up to a part of the Lake District that had even more amazing scenery. We, like thousands of visitors before us, crossed the border into Scotland and stopped at Gretna Green. We stopped for the history and shopping instead of a wedding service though. There is so much cool (if not strange) history here!

We enjoyed the Scottish Shortbread and other treats from there on our way to our hotel in old town Edinburgh. Unlike a lot of cities back home, it’s walking distance to everything! Speaking of walking, in the morning we’ll walk out of our hotel and see the great Edinburgh Castle, and later we’ll finish our evening in the downtown part of the city. Only Events & Adventures can put together a trip like this just for singles!

~ Events & Adventures Dallas Event Manager Jacque

memorial day weekend

Memorial Day Weekend with E&A Phoenix

This past Memorial Day weekend Events & Adventures Phoenix took to the open road and made our way out to Copper Cloud Ranch in Kanab, Utah. Our days started with sunrises and ended with sunsets that beautifully lit up over the canyons.

On Saturday, our first full day at the ranch, we made our way to Page, Arizona and right over to Lower Antelope Canyon. Located in a large Navajo reservation that extends from Utah to Arizona to New Mexico, Lower Antelope Canyon—called Hazdistazi, or “spiral rock arches”, by the Navajo Indians—was absolutely breathtaking. Pictures simply don’t do any justice to the canyons once you’ve seen them in person. Our guided tour of the canyon was an hour-long hike led by an experienced guide. It was both spectacular and informative!

Sunday we went paddle boarding and kayaking on Lake Powell. The weather was in the mid-80s and the water was perfect. From playing football to swimming around playing “alligator” to goofing off around the rich blue lake with friends, this Sunday was a total win and one for the books! Not only did we have Phoenix members building friendships and making memories, but we had three members from our new Denver club join in on the fun. We were sad to say goodbye to them because we want to adopt all three of them into Events & Adventures Phoenix. One of them jokingly agreed, but shhh…don’t tell the Denver club that! Even coyotes and roosters wanted to join our party, but we were already in bed by the time they showed up.

This Memorial Day weekend had had everything you’d think of when you think of “camping trip”–and so much more!

We gathered around the campfire to sing and get to know one another. We immersed ourselves in stargazing and pointed out as many constellations as we could. Being in the city, it’s a sight we rarely see and none of us took the clear skies for granted! On the last night, one of our members pulled out his guitar and put on a show for us that brought the whole trip full circle.

Monday morning when everyone was up packing up and getting ready to head out, some of us just weren’t ready for the trip to end yet. We took advantage of where we were and stayed back to view Horseshoe Bend. Whether or not our members were afraid of heights, Horseshoe Bend didn’t keep us from standing on the edge of canyon cliffs that drop 1,000 feet straight into the Colorado River below. The distant panoramic horizon views were mesmerizing. It was the perfect way for us to end our Memorial Day weekend trip.

After seeing not one, but three top Arizona destinations in one weekend, this camping trip was what I’d call an eventful adventure that gave us all memories and friendships we’ll hold onto for life! Only with Events & Adventures can you get this kind of experience.

trip to china

My Trip to China, by Events & Adventures Member Gustavo

Many people asked me, “Why do you want to take a trip to China?” Everyone knows the food is horrible, it’s crowded, and it has a lot of pollution. Regardless, my answer has always been the same—because I had never been there and I wanted to experience for myself how China is different from the countries that I have visited. And I can tell you, I do not regret it at all; China has been one of the most amazing trips that I have ever taken. It was different, it was magnificent, it was…simply amazing!

Let’s start with the language barrier. When you are trying to order food and you have no idea what you are ordering, basically you just go by the pictures or how it looks on the table. You just try it, because at the end of the day this is all about experiencing the unknown. When do you really get to eat something crazy, anyway? It was always good food; sometimes it was better than others but overall it was healthy.

We visited three different cities, and when I say different, I mean it. Beijing is a combination of an ancient city mixed with modern construction; the contrast between the styles of architecture was really clear. Xi’an is a smaller city but with a lot of people. It’s very crowded and there’s a lot of traffic, and despite it seeming more polluted than Beijing it still felt like an ancient city. Shanghai was just magnificent. It looks like a modern metropolis and has an amazing skyline with big, colorful buildings. It looks like what it represents–a cosmopolitan and important global center.

As far as sightseeing during my trip to China, the Great Wall just blew my mind!

This should come as no surprise, but what a hike. Obviously, there are no elevators or any easy ways up the wall. There are only stairs and all of them are different heights, sometimes narrow and sometimes very wide. We hiked through 12 separate forts built into the wall to make it to what we think was the top of the wall. Going up was challenging but going down was downright scary, you always want to make sure that you watch your every step.

We visited the Ming Tombs, the Sacred Way, the Temple Of Heaven, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Last Government Protected Historical Hutong District—all of in Beijing. In Xi’an we had the chance to visit the Terracotta Army, a Buddhist Temple, the Great Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Xi’an City Wall. Finally, in Shanghai, with its spectacular skyline and impressive new architecture, we still got to enjoy the city’s old gardens and a town market where you can buy almost anything and bargain for everything.

I do not have a bucket list of the places that I want to visit—I just want to go everywhere. But before the trip, it was clear to me that China was one of those countries where I would go only with a group, and once again Events & Adventures did not disappoint. The trip was very well-organized from the beginning, the tour guides were terrific, and the staff was always trying to make sure everyone had a great time. I had the chance to make new friends that I had so much in common with and I am sure we will share more awesome adventures in the future. That was my trip to China!

shanghai adventure

A Shanghai Adventure Ends Our Amazing Trip to China

On Day 5 was the first day of our Shanghai adventure, but we were finally able to have a bit of a downtime before our afternoon flight there. The tour days are long and packed so it was nice to be able to relax at the hotel and visit a few local spots. It wasn’t too long before we arrived in Shanghai and met our local tour guide Allen, who was extremely knowledgeable about the city and gave us so much information on the way to our hotel.

The first evening in Shanghai was like a dream. Our tour guides offered a cruise on the Huangpu River, where we were situated in the boat’s VIP section. Being in the VIP meant we wouldn’t have to fight for good photos of the Shanghai skyline! The Huangpu River is considered a symbol of Shanghai, originating at Dianshan Lake and emptying into the Yangtze River at Wusongkou. It is 71 miles long and 437 yards wide and is ice-free year round. The river basically divides Shanghai into east and west. One spectacular sight is that the two suspension bridges, the Nanpu Bridge and the Yangpu Bridge, appear to arch over the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and is said to resemble “two dragons playing with a ball”.

The west bank of the Huangpu River is the cultural, residential and entertainment center of Shanghai. The Bund, Monument to the People’s Heroes, Waibaidu Bridge, and the oldest park in Shanghai, Huangpu Park, are located on the west bank. In addition, many historical buildings left over from Shanghai’s colonial days have been preserved. The east bank of the river (Pudong) is the newer district of Shanghai and is its financial and commercial hub. Steel and glass structures are abundant here. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower, skyscraper hotels, offices, and malls of the Lujiazui Financial Zone are located on this side of the river.

Cruising on the Huangpu River has become a must for most visitors to Shanghai. The busy wharfs and the “three-layer waters (or three-color waters)” at Wusongkou are within sight while on the boat. The ‘three-layer waters’ are formed by the convergence of the Huangpu River (gray white), the Yangtze River (yellow), and the East Sea (green) during high tide. When the sun sets, the river is veiled in the glittery neon lights. The nighttime skyline of the city was definitely one of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen.

Day 6 was our last full tour day of the trip as Day 7 was a free day. Our Shanghai adventure continued with a tour of the silk factory. China, and specifically Shanghai, is known for its silk and Suzhou is most famous place for silk producing. We learned about the entire lifespan of the silkworm followed by watching them make silk products.

After the silk factory we arrived at The Jin Mao Tower which is 420.5 m high, with altogether 88 stories and total construction area of 290,000 square meters. It is a perfect combination between the Chinese Traditional Architecture Style and the advanced building technologies of the modern world. Some of our members decided to try the Sky Walk—walking around the outside of the tower on the 88th floor attached to just a bungee rope. Don’t look down!

After exploring the views at The Jin Mao Tower we arrived at The Bund, which we had seen on the boat tour the evening before. It was a beautiful day for walking, exploring, and seeing that it is a boulevard lined with impressive neo-classical buildings. The Bund is the classic image of Shanghai and the city’s main attraction. Sweeping along the western side of the Huangpu River, the majestic building dates back to Shanghai’s grandest days. Many banks and financial companies built impressive offices here in the early 20th century when Shanghai was the financial capital of Asia.

After The Bund we decided to head to what they call the “Shanghai Bazaar”, the Yu Yuan Markets. It was packed as it just so happens it was a National Holiday in China called “Labour Day”. Here we were able to purchase a mish-mash of items including traditional Chinese arts and crafts and souvenirs, ornate chopsticks, Chinese medicine, walking sticks, fans, silk umbrellas, bamboo and rattan furniture, goldfish, pottery, and much more. We all did some shopping, had lunch on our own and then met up with everyone to go check out the Yu Yuan Gardens which was a stunning layout of beautiful pavilions, miniature lakes, bridges and rock formations.

After exploring the Yu Yuan Gardens we had time left over so our tour guide’s brought us to what is called The Shanghai French Concession. The French Concession is the area of Shanghai once designated for the French, consisting of today’s Luwan and Xuhui Districts. Luwan’s Huaihai Road is a busy shopping street and is also home to both Xintiandi and Tian Zi Fang, extremely popular shopping and dining spots for tourists. Xuhui is also ever popular for tourists and is home to Shanghai Stadium. The tree-lined avenues and their many Tudor mansions in the area still retain an air of the “Paris of the East”. This place was a little bit of home to us as it had classic western food, draft beer and many people spoke English.

It was bitter sweet arriving at dinner that night knowing it was the last dinner together as the little family we had created on our travels! The friendships created, the memories made, and the laughter would be something that would last a lifetime. To travel with 42 strangers who would become like family was the most surreal experience of the trip. I had expectations going into this trip and this experience had exceeded them all.

The last day of our Shanghai adventure we had to ourselves to be able to explore whatever our hearts desired. Our tour guide Allen put together a tour of his home village of Suzhou, which they call the “Venice of China”. The city’s canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens have contributed to its status as one of the top tourist attractions in China. Some of our members visited The Classical Gardens of Suzhou that were added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 and 2000.

Other members visited Shanghai Disney which was only opened last June and is the biggest Disney in the world. They went on rides, ate food, bought souvenirs and had a blast seeing the differences between Disney US and Disney China. Some members went on food tours and ate things such as Szechwan tofu, lamb kebabs, crawfish and wok fired snake. Others checked out markets and museums.

Upon arrival back to the hotel we decided to go out as a group for one last dinner to close out our Shanghai adventure. We went to a French restaurant called Va Bene located in the French Concession that we had seen the day before. We ate the most delicious French cuisine, drank some wine, and reminisced over the past week of our China adventure. Shanghai adventure

Although there are some things I won’t miss, such as Squatty Potties, the smog, language barriers, and having to pay for water everywhere I go (just some of the luxuries we have living in the US and Canada), it will be very difficult to say goodbye to this amazing group of people that I did not know a week ago. Watching the dynamics of everyone come out of their shell from Day 1 to Day 7 was really great to see. The best thing about Events & Adventures is the lasting friendships created, the love connections that have flourished, and that we are all here for one purpose—to have an adventure of a lifetime. Until next time, whether it’s a Shanghai adventure or another amazing place across the world!

exploring china

Exploring China with Events & Adventures Members!

We started Day 3 of exploring China with a trip to the Beijing Zoo…and we got to see the pandas (amazing!), among many other animals, such as hyenas, monkeys, wolves, and many more. After the zoo we took an hour rickshaw tour to a 250-acre village of the Shichahai area, which is the most renowned historical and cultural quarter in Beijing. The ancient imperial mansions, celebrities’ residences, and the trendy boutiques and bars along the narrow alleys showcased both ancient and modern glamour of Beijing.

We experienced the local resident’s daily life by tracing the age-old hutongs (alleys) and courtyards. When we got there we went to visit a local family. While in their home we soon found out that the man of the house was actually an artist who has travelled to 35 countries showcasing his art. They told us about the village, told us some family history, and showcased some of the art work. We were also able to purchase signed artwork from the home studio itself.

After the rickshaw tour, we had to quickly go to the airport as we had an afternoon flight to our next destination—Xian! Upon arriving in Xian we met our local tour guide, Francis, who led us on a very informative tour of Xian on our way to dinner and the hotel. (Did I mention it was all you can eat & drink?) It was a short day for us as it was a travel day and a free night to recuperate. We would need the energy for our Day 4 trip to see another great Wonder of the World!

Day 4 of exploring China was our first full day in Xian. We had a jam-packed agenda as we leave tomorrow for Shanghai. We started our day at the Terracotta Workshop where they actually create the world-famous warriors. They use clay to mold the statues; they then put them in a kiln and bake them. The craftsmen let them bake for up to a few days depending on the size of the statue. Next they let them cool before painting them by hand. We also got to see the statues in the different steps of creation. After the workshop we were able to purchase our own warrior statues.

Once we had finished at the workshops, we ventured to the Terracotta Warriors Museum which is considered an “Eighth World Wonder”. The museum was founded in 1974 when villagers happened upon one of the world’s most astonishing archaeological findings—an 8,000 man army in battle ready formation, each warrior a life-size figure made over 2,200 years ago. When the warriors were found, people in the community thought it was a bad omen from the earth god and that a curse was coming. We explored three different pits, each showcasing a different size, style, and form of statue before grabbing lunch at a local restaurant nearby.

After lunch, we arrived at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda which was built in 652 AD and is filled with many Buddha shrines, gardens, and courtyards. At the Pagoda there were many shops, filled with items for sale such as like Buddha statues, books, jewelry, incense, and much more. The whole courtyard smelled of incense with a huge pot containing all the incense sticks in the middle. We quickly went to explore the Xian city wall while we still had about a half-hour to kill before our show and dinner. The Xian wall runs 12 kilometers in length and features some very imposing guard towers. It also features a lamp post with a red drapery and a small dragon that outlines the city wall. You will find a mixture of old and new Chinese architecture along the wall, as you will exploring China in general.

We arrived at our nightly show, which this night was the Tang Dynasty show. The Tang Dynasty is distinguished as the most progressive and prosperous era in the history of China. The dances were traditional Chinese dances that gave thanks to prosperous seasons and weather. The costumes and the performances were simply stunning. After the show we were treated to a Dumpling Ceremony right in the theatre. Chinese dumplings are among one of the most famous dishes in Xian. Each dumpling is hand-wrapped and stuffed with a freshly prepared filling. Sweet, savory, vegetarian, meat-filled, fruit-filled, and many other flavours were available, each with its own unique design.

We continue exploring China tomorrow in the vast country’s largest metropolis—Shanghai! I, and all the members of Events & Adventures, can’t wait to see what’s in store for us there!

china trip

Events & Adventures China Trip Day 2

We started off the second day of our China trip by heading to the Temple of Heaven, which is ranked among the most famous structures in China. The temple was used several times annually when the emperor, bearing the hopes and sins of the Chinese people, humbled himself before heaven and performed rituals believed to ensure good harvests. It is a very popular place for retired Chinese folk to hang out, exercise, and play games such as hacky sack or cards.

From there we went to The Pearl Exhibition Centre were we learned a pearl’s life, how to tell the difference between a fake and a real pearl, and the different colours and sizes of pearls. We had lunch at a local restaurant and then went to Tiananmen Square, which covers 44 hectares and is the largest public square in the world. In the centre of the square are the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, where Mao Tse Tung’s embalmed body lies in state. The most recognizable feature of the Rostrum is Mao’s portrait–an almost required backdrop for any photo visitors may take of themselves. Often people go here to protest by lighting themselves on fire (true story) and you will find guards here standing near fire extinguishers.

Crossing Changan Avenue and directly behind the Rostrum is the entry to the Forbidden City, so called because it was off limits to commoners throughout the history of Imperial China. Commoners caught in the palace during this period were executed. The current construction was originally built between 1406 and 1420 by 100,000 artisans and a million labourers as a palace for the Ming and Qing Emperors; it lies on more than 178 acres and has more than 9,999 rooms (9 is a lucky number in China).

After the Forbidden City, the next stop for our China trip was the Academy of Chinese Medicine to get reflexology massages–which was much needed after the hike up The Great Wall yesterday! Both form Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper and President Obama have been treated at this academy. We finished our evening at a kung fu show with acrobats, kung fu masters and a story of a boy who grew up to be a kung fu master. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store for Events & Adventures!

visit china

Events & Adventures Members Visit China!

The chance for Events & Adventures members to visit China is finally here! Day 1 here in Beijing is winding down and it was nothing short of incredible! It was a jam-packed day full of adventure, laughter, and a lot of great new memories.

Our first stop of the day was The Sacred Way—referring to the road travelled to heaven—of the Ming Tombs. Our tour guide Frank was well-informed of the area’s history as he shared the meaning and significance of the many things we would see and experience. The pathway starts with a huge stone memorial archway lying near the entrance. It was constructed in 1540, during the Ming Dynasty, and is archway is the earliest and biggest stone archway in China.

The pathway is lined with stone statues which are considered crucial decorations to the mausoleum. These statues include 12 human figures, including a general, civil officials, and meritorious officials, and 24 animals, including lions, camels, elephants, xiezhis (a mythological unicorn), horses, and qilin, which is one of the four “divine animals”. The other three divine animals are the dragon, phoenix, and tortoise. There are four of each of the animals, two standing and two squatting, each implying a different meaning.

We learned that the lion symbolizes awesome solemnity because of their ferocity. The camels and elephants suggest the vastness of the territory controlled by the court because of their dependability in places like the desert and tropics. Xiezhi was placed there to keep evil spirits away because it was believed to possess the sixth sense to tell right and wrong. The horse, as the emperor’s mount, is absolutely indispensable. It is said that these animals are supposed to change guard at midnight.

We knew if we were going to visit China, we had to see how jade was made!

After exploring The Sacred Way, our next stop was The Jade Factory. This factory was actual produced the 2008 Olympic Medals that featured white jades. We learned about the different textures and colors of jade and how each figure has its own meaning. For example, the Psu statue made from jade is believed to bring more money into the household. The male statue represents bringing the money and the female represents keeping the money.

After The Jade Factory we stopped for lunch before heading onto The Great Wall of China, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (obviously). It was a dream come true. I can honestly say I never thought I would have ever made it to one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We hiked up to the top of the wall, which was beautiful and provided spectacular views (and was also really windy).

We closed out the day with a visit to a Chinese Tea Factory, where they brew the most delicious loose leaf teas, and followed that with dinner and an acrobatic show. It feels as if we have been here for a week instead of just a day. We cannot wait to see what the rest of the week will bring. Only Events & Adventures can play host to a once-in-a-lifetime experience like this, it’s definitely the only way to visit China!