A retirement trip to China

Posted on September 28, 2015 by Guest Writer
Ian and Sandra at the Great Wall of China

A once in a lifetime holiday saw Sandra and Ian Pidoux visit the Great Wall of China and a host of historical Chinese cities.

Tiananmen Square, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong were just some of the stops that Sandra Pidoux and her husband Ian made during a 12-day trip to China last year. Sandra had just retired as a school head teacher in Somerset and the adventurous duo decided they needed to do something special to celebrate.

“My husband and I have done a fair amount of travelling,” said Sandra, 65, from Bridgwater, Somerset. “It’s probably our last long-haul trip, which is why we wanted to push the boat out. I said let’s do something that we really want to do and we agreed we both wanted to stand on the Great Wall of China. It was very impressive standing there thinking about all the history and its age. It was very emotional.”

Wall of China

The couple also went to see the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, which they said was another highlight of the trip. The figures, which were discovered in 1974 by local farmers, include 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. They were buried with a Chinese Emperor in 210-209 BC and were intended to protect him in the afterlife.

Sandra explained: “There were just so many of them – hundreds and hundreds, all laid out. Another memorable experience was Tiananmen Square because of its historical context. There’s nothing like it, especially with the picture of Mao overlooking it.”

Terracotta Army

The couple also went to a traditional Tang Dynasty Show, enjoyed a duck dinner, visited a silk and jade factory and splashed out on a river cruise in Shanghai. Sandra and her husband Ian, who is a vicar, have been married for 42 years, but she said getting travel insurance can be difficult due to the age gap between the pair, as Ian is 17 years her senior.

Sandra, a grandmother of four, explained: “We tried Staysure because you seem to cater for older people and because Ian had one or two pre-existing medical conditions. We thought you offered good value for money, especially with the distance we were travelling. It’s not easy when you get to that age to get insurance. Although he’s very fit, insurers wouldn’t know that. The staff were very helpful and talked me through the policy and the prices. So we will definitely be using Staysure again.”

Shanghai skyline at sunset

As for their jaunt to China, it’s left them with a lot of happy memories.

Sandra added: “It was fantastic and action packed. We were absolutely exhausted by the time we got back as we went on seven aeroplanes to get around China. It gives us plenty to feed off over the next few years. I’ve got a scrap book so we were able to bore the family with it when we got home. They were all yawning!”

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