My research paid off and Gate 1’s Discovery Tours “14 Day China & Tibet Discovery” was a great fit for me. Our group size was 10 plus Eddie our guide and we became fast friends.
Day one started with a flight from Virginia to Shanghai with a connection in Detroit. Prior to my flight, I upgraded to Delta’s Premium Select cabin and it was well worth the small extra charge. On my 14 hour flight to Shanghai , I had a large video screen, head phones, fluffy blanket, larger pillow, very good food service and wine and I had a FOOT REST. I booked my seat early and was able to secure a bulk-head seat. There is a lot of room in front of these seats so I was able to move around without disturbing my neighbor.
On arrival in Shanghai, I navigated my way through customs, picked up my luggage and was met by a Discovery Tours sign. Holding the sign was Eddie, my new friend and tour guide for the next 14 days. A few others joined us and we were escorted to our hotel with arrival around 10:00 pm. I wanted to get as much rest as possible my first night so I ordered the wine and pizza special from room service and went to bed.
Day 2, our group met at breakfast and headed to the Bund (waterfront area) for a morning stroll.
Our next stop was the classical Yu Yuan Gardens (Garden of Happiness) in the Old Quarter.
We stop for a quick lunch and continue our day with a visit to the Jade Buddha Temple built during the Qing Dynasty. These White Jade carved Buddhas were a gift to China from Burma.
We make a stop to see some of China’s great artisans at a Silk Carpet and Embroidery shop. The demonstration given by ladies showing the detailed embroidery works they spend months to create has me amazed. I have to buy something but deciding which piece is a challenge. I finally decide the Black and Orange Coy just has to go home with me. I bargain for a small discount and they agree to ship to the USA on my last day in China. (It arrived at my home two days after I returned safe and sound.)
We ended our day with a Welcome Dinner hosted by Eddie, our tour guide. This was a chance for our group to meet and bond over dinner and drinks. I think we all left dinner feeling lucky we had such a great group to share this next two weeks with and excited about our adventure in China.