Matthew and Belinda come to visit

We always love hosting family and friends in whatever city we happen to be living in at the time, and living in Nanjing we didn’t get a whole lot of opportunity to do this. So when Matt messaged us saying he and Belinda were coming to visit, I got pretty damn excited! Cos I’m a nerd like that!

It was pretty cool seeing them emerge from Arrivals at Lukou Airport. I have a love/hate relationship with Lukou Airport and this was one of the better days for us! Dinner at our favourite Chinese restaurant in Xinjiekou was the perfect ‘welcome to Nanjing’ dinner. They loved the dumplings and we were off to a great start!

Their visit coincided with our second anniversary, and on our first anniversary Nick and I decided that we would create an anniversary tradition where each year we would celebrate our wedding annually by walking together, being active and seeing a new part of whatever city we were living in at the time. First anniversary, we walked the Spit Bridge to Manly walk in Sydney. And this year we had a walking program all laid out to show Matt and Belinda the sights of Nanjing.

One of the first things we wanted to show them to was Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum and the surrounding area. So we got up relatively early, introduced them to wonton soup with chilli and black vinegar for breakfast (馄饨里面加点辣椒和醋) which was what Dad introduced us to when we first ever visited Nanjing!) and caught the train to下马坊站(Xiamafang). It was brutal for me. I was so stuffed up with a cold! My nose was running like my life depended on it, I was popping decongestants and pain killers every four hours because my life DID depend on it, and only sheer stubbornness got me out of bed that morning! I was hell bent on not missing out!!!

Nick, Belinda and Matt left me at the bottom of the big stairs and went up to the mausoleum without me. I was well aware that if I was going to last the whole day, I had to pace myself! When they came down, we decided to explore the area a bit more and went wandering to find the temple and other interesting nooks and crannies. We were being scrooges and didn’t want to pay the extra to get into the temple area and garden area, so we literally wandered, got lost, saw some stuff, took some photos, and then Nick somehow got an Uber car to pick us up and take us to Laomendong for a good old Kiwi style burger at Motu!

We wandered around Laomendong, Matt and Belinda doing a pretty good job at looking super hipster, and decided to wander over to Zhonghuamen, where you can pay a fee to got up onto the Nanjing wall. Now I have been wanting to do this ever since we got to Nanjing, and what better tie to do it than on our second anniversary with our friends?! So we paid the ¥50pp fee and began exploring the ground level and mid level area underneath the wall. It was way more interesting than I expected! With hollowed out rooms turned into mini museum type areas and little shops, an archery area at ground level and stone tossing area, we spent time exploring these nooks and crannies before we even began climbing the steps up to the top of the wall!

And then we went up up UP!

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Up on top of the wall was amazing! The view was incredible, in particular looking down on Laomendong. We spend so much time at Laomendong and seeing it from such a different perspective was really cool. We walked a long way, just wandering, being idiots, taking photos, that sort of jazz. Nick and Belinda noticed that the bricks used to build the wall were stamped, and Belinda’s keen eye had read somewhere that they were stamped to identify the craftsman who made the bricks. We wandered for hours. I really do love my friends who feel comfortable semi-ditching me/us for some chill time off ahead (cos I’m usually the one tutu-ing and lagging behind!) when we’re doing something together. Which really sums up most of my close friends!

Between the four of us, we got some pretty cool photo’s up on the wall, including Nick’s selfie stick photo that’s the featured image on this post!!!

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Other highlights of their visit:

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Matt being his usual self and laughing at all the ‘barbed wire’, his term of affection for the Chinese characters!
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Matt finding a still randomly in 1912 (the Western clubbing/cafe area of Nanjing)
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Hahaha not a highlight for them! I was so looking forward to introducing them to hotpot but they were less than impressed… Maybe it’s the hori in me?!?!

They left early morning on the Thursday, heading to Shanghai where we would meet up with them after our workshop on Friday. So watch out for my next post about Shanghai, including more selfies thanks to Nick’s handy dandy selfie stick!!!

“Hold up. Leme take a selfie…!”

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