To start you off here is a couple of links that give you a brief glimpse at the History of Qingdao.
It was a bit of a struggle to get the waiter to understand our order, but we liked him regardless… he had given Nate free chicken the night before after all. I stepped out into the chilly air in my t-shirt to get a better view of the city. I was looking over the redy-orange shingled roofs of a German town.
Qingdao has an interesting past: because of it’s strategic location a defensive base was built there in the Ming Dynasty, later taken and developed by the Germans (who we have to thank for the building style, churches, and the brewery that is now used to make tsingtao beer), then taken by the Japanese, recovered by the Chinese, and taken by the Japanese again. Today it is a port city used to ship goods to and from China. (2013 Harper, D. et al.)
We got a “Free map” from reception, which was actually a free magazine with a map inside. Using it, and it’s list of top sights, as a guide we wondered leisurely around town. The signal towers were the coolest sight we checked out.
Sticking up above the city on the top of a hill were three round red bubbles. The tallest one, in the middle was open for tourists. We climbed the steep steps onto the main floor complete with wide windows and a bar in the centre. We suffered momentary vertigo as we watched the windowed wall move away from us. I was trying to figure out the appeal of having a rotating window when I came to the realization that it was us on the little fake hardwood floor between the window and the bar, that was moving! We sat on grass woven chairs, sipping our hot water, and watching all of the famous sites go by while a furnace blasted heat at us from the ceiling. Every once and a while someone’s water bottle would rotate by us. One man sat on the window ledge for a picture and almost bumped into Nate!
We could see “Little Qingdao” from our warm safe bubble: a peninsula with a walking path that stuck off from the main shore. We made the mistake of going down there later, with the wind coming off the water it was bitter cold. The tide was low though so it was prime shell hunting time, and we were able to find a few keepers among the red rising rocks full of tidal pools. Down below near “Little Qingdao” were three large battle ships, now used as part of the navy museum.
It was dark by the time we got back, so we weren’t completely sure we were going the right way until we made it to the park surrounding our hostel. Nate took some night photos of the church with two crosses. Another piece of history (something we learned while exploring): the crosses had been cut off during the cultural revolution, but some locals had buried them in the hills to keep them safe. In 2005 they were rediscovered and re-attached. (2013 Harper, D. et al.).
Spent the evening at the bar chatting with the girls we’d met yesterday and with a German girl named Bett. The city was a very interesting place to explore, but one of the coolest sights remained our home base. With a gorgeous view of it’s, a patio that called us to come back in summer months, awesome observatory domes, and a park right out the front door, the only danger of the place was never wanting to leave. We had talked about staying in the old church, which was a bit cheeper, but the Old Observatory was worth every penny.
Harper, D., Chen, P., Chow, C. W., Eimer, D., Ho, T., Kelly, R., . . . Pitts, C. (2013). Lonely Planet (13th ed.). Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet.