Happy Chinese New Year!

Today people in many regions all over Asia, but especially in east asian countries like China, Hongkong, Vietnam, Mongolia and Taiwan, are ringing in the Year of the Horse. This follows of the Year of the Snake, two out of twelve animal signs of the Chinese zodiac, of which every animal sign reappears every twelve years. In the past Years of the Horse were years of big changes. The start of the cultural revolution 1966 and the Great Depression 1930 occured in Years of the Horse.

Horses are regarded as self-confident, independent and loyal, adventurous, open-minded and full of spirits. But they are also said be sometimes too impulsive, dogmatic and occasionally don’t realize when they hurt someone. Horses match best together with Tigers, Dogs and Sheeps.

Prominent politicians who were born in the Year of the Horse are the former chinese President of State Hu Jintao, the former russian Politician Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin, the former US-President Theodore Roosevelt, the present german Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and her pre-Predecessor Helmut Kohl plus the current french President Francois Hollande. Other prominent “horses” are Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Frederic Chopin and Rembrandt van Rijn.

Three years ago I was lucky to be in Hongkong for Chinese New Year when the start of the Year of the Rabbit was celebrated. The whole city was festively and colourfully decorated and Rabbit symbols could be seen everywhere. I witnessed a big parade on New Year’s Eve and a huge firework the following night. It was a fantastic experience and I am happy I was there during those days, but I could imagine that it is totally different than the Chinese New Year feast which chinese families celebrate.

One year ago, when the Year of the Snake was heralded, I had just booked a three-week trip to China all across the country – my second visit to the Middle Kingdom – and I had just written my first post about Chinese New Year. I don’t know if there is any connection, but as someone who is born in a Year of the Snake, and who has been to China before, I felt that I want to learn more about China, not only about the places which I was going to visit, but also about chinese culture and rites. I have been curious and excited to see more of the country – I still am and will hopefully be in the future -, but I was also concerned to get lost in China, a country where English is not widely spoken, during those three days which I have spent in Beijing on my own.

What should I say?

As someone who is very adventurous, I explored the city on my own even though and had one of the best times of my life in China. I fell in love with the country, so I went back six months later. During my third visit to the country I was lucky to meet two friends again who I have made on my two previous visits to the country. I have had an amazing time on both China trips I did in 2013 and to me it feels that 2013 was definitely my China year:

Also in 2013, I have tried out Hot Yoga and I really like it. I will probably practice it again somewhen in the future, but as it is very costly and time-consuming this might take a while. And I recently moved my blog from a weblog on WordPress.com to this self-hosted Website. This was one of the big goals I had for 2014 and I already fulfilled it in January.

For the Year of the Horse I hope that there will be a few positive changes workwise. I hope to stay respectively get back in touch with people who I really like and I hope to be able to go back to China. The Silk Road of China is on the very top of my wishlist. I would also love to do a common trip with my boyfriend across Vietnam from North to South. And I plan to blog more about my past and future travels – which will hopefully be as positively exciting and fulfilling as my past travels were – and to publish lots of photos.

I had planned to write a post for Chinese New Year also this year anyway, but I was indecisive which photos to add as I have posted some of my best photos of my Chinese New Year in Hongkong last year already. Inspired by Heather from “Ferreting out the Fun” and one of her latest posts I have choosen to show a selection of photos which were taken of me on my travels in 2013 in China, Dubai and Hongkong.

And that’s me on my travels:

On a speed boat in front of Hotel Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

At the Summer Palace in Beijing, China

Mill and me in a tibetan restaurant in Beijing, China

Mill – my guide in Yunnan & Tibet in 2010 – and me in a tibetan restaurant in Beijing (October 2013)

Our group in front of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China (April 2013)

Our group in front of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China (April 2013)

Alexander, a danish guy, and me together with chinese students in front of the Forbidden City (April 2013)

Alexander, a danish guy, and me together with chinese students in front of the Forbidden City (April 2013)

On the Great Wall, Mutianyu (October 2013)

On the Great Wall, Mutianyu (October 2013)

Enjoying a spicy and delicious Sichuan Hot Pot dinner in Chongqing

Enjoying a spicy and delicious Sichuan Hot Pot dinner in Chongqing

It is always windy there - Myself on the Yangtze River Cruise

It is always windy there – Myself on the Yangtze River Cruise

Patrick (left), Leon (right) and me (middle) at the buddhist Monastery on Mount Emei Shan

Patrick (left), Leon (right) and me (middle) at the buddhist Monastery on Mount Emei Shan

River, our local guide, and me in Dali, Yunnan,

River, our local guide, and me in Dali, Yunnan

During a bike ride on Moon Hill, Yangshuo (November 2013)

During a bike ride on Moon Hill, Yangshuo (November 2013)

On Victoria Peak, Hongkong (November 2013)

On Victoria Peak, Hongkong (November 2013)

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