This past December I had the opportunity to spend several days in Qingdao China.  I had a marvelous time in Qingdao.  Qingdao reminded me very much of Boston in that it is a port city and like Boston it gets cold there.  I happened to be there in the December time frame so I can attest to how chilly it was.  Another interesting aspect of Qingdao is that it has a lot of European history as well.  Many of you are probably aware that Tsingtao beer hails from Qingdao China.  The Germans who once lived / occupied Qingdao started crafting their own beer to meet their drinking needs.  They did more than create beer though.  The architecture in parts of Old Qingdao is absolutely amazing.  Once again, reminds me of being in Europe.  There is a part of town in Qingdao where the villas are all of European design.  In old Qingdao many street signs are still in German. Don’t be fooled though, Qingdao is a modern city that is growing by leaps and bounds.  It has a skyline that is reminiscent of any major city.  Qingdao blends a little bit of the old with a lot of the new.

As with many other Chinese cities I found the citizens to very welcoming and friendly.  I did get a couple of stares though when I took the bus to get around the city.  Ok, I actually received many stares.  In Qingdao I found myself using my limited Mandarin skills as I didn’t come across many people who spoke English.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect people in China to have mastered English.  But in the previous cities I have visited, I came across many residents who spoke English.  By no means am I complaining as I actually found it quite fun (and slightly satisfying) that I was able to maneuver my way around town without using much English.

If you ever visit Qingdao go in the spring (assuming you don’t like cold weather) and make sure to hike Laoshan Mountain.

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Rindge Leaphart

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