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The Silk Road with Art Tours with Amy Osaki

mogao

Courtesy of Walking Softly Adventures

Welcome to the Silk Road! Our partner tour guide, Amy Osaki, and her incredible tour company Walking Softly Adventures, are excited to embark on their Silk Road Itinerary in 2013. These high quality trips take a deep, intimate look into a region’s cultural heritage and its art history.

The Silk Road is a web of routes from Asia to Europe, traversing over 4,000 miles. Trade started to flourish on this network over 2,200 years ago during the Han Dynasty in China. Named after the most popular of the road’s merchandises, Chinese silk, it was also the main conduit for all sorts of goods, religion, culture, ideas, and technologies.

The Chinese monk Xuanzang traveled the Silk Road in the 7th century during the Tang dynasty, and returned to China with a stupendous collection of Buddhist manuscripts from India. These are housed in the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Ta) in Xi’an, China. Guests will visit this Pagoda on October 10 as part of the Adventuring on the Silk Road tour with Art Tours by Amy.

Marco Polo traveled from Venice on the Silk Road with his father and uncle in the mid 1200’s (13th century). He met Kublai Khan who requested that they bring him oil from Jerusalem. In 1271, Marco Polo and his father and uncle, traveled the Silk Road again, and delivered the oil to Kublai Khan. The Khan prohibited them from leaving. It was 24 years later when Marco Polo finally returned home to Venice! When they arrived in Venice, the city was at war with Genoa and Marco Polo was imprisoned. He recounted his story to a fellow prisoner who wrote it down; this document was published as the “Travels of Marco Polo”!

From the office of Amy Osaki: “On our trip, we begin in Xi’an and then travel north and west by plane, bus, and even camel if you wish. We explore the western-most end of the Great Wall of China, where it meets the Gobi desert at Jiayuguan. We ride camels on the sand dunes at Dunhuang, and tour the superb Mogao Caves with one of the richest collections of Buddhist cave art in the world. Then we explore the innovative underground irrigation system that brought water to Turpan, nurturing the oasis and its delicious grapes and raisins. Nearby the Bezeklik Caves are adorned with 1,500 year old paintings, and Jiaohe is a 2,200 year old Silk Road city. Urumqi’s provincial museum is an amazing repository of the art and culture of the Silk Road people, including 3,800 year old mummies. Finally, we see the soaring mountains, Tian Shan mountains north of Urumqi, and the Pamir mountains west of Kashgar. Our trip ends in Kashgar, the last major Chinese Silk Road city before the 25,000 foot peaks of the Pamir mountains which separate China from Kyrgyzstan.”

LINKS

Read about Walking Softly in our previous blog post.
Read more about the Adventuring on the Silk Road art tour online.
Enjoy a slideshow of Walking Softly’s images from the Silk Road.

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Amy Osaki

Space on this special trip is limited. Contact your Willamette agent at 800.821.0401 to be penciled in for the trip. Your $400 deposit will guarantee your reservation.

Amy Boyce Osaki leads only one or two art tours each year. This will likely be the last opportunity to travel on the Silk Road with Amy. It would be her pleasure to have you join this guaranteed departure!

Look for mention of Xinjiang and Central Asia in our newest Spring newsletter, out next week! Call us to order yours FREE today!

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Filed under Art & Architecture, Asia, Group Travel, Vendors

WIT Agent Barb heads over to China!

This week WIT Agent Barbara is heading out to the land of Dragons and Emperors! She is traveling with General Tours in China!

General Tours is renowned for its small group tours, with a maximum of 16 passengers that can book. Founded in 1947, GT is one of America’s oldest tour companies and has been lauded by Frommer’s, Travle + Leisure, and the New York Times. The tours are fully escorted, and each includes private transportation, insightful tour guides, entrance fees, most meals, internal flights and taxes. Remember agent Linda’s terrific trip to Colombia last summer? It was organized by General Tours!

Escorted by GT’s sales manager Judy Ruffini, Barb will be venturing through some major highlights of China—Beijing, Xian, the Three Gorges, and Shanghai. Here’s a sneak peek to her itinerary:

March 18-19 – Beijing. With her guide and compatriots, Barb will check out the age-old city of Beijing. She’ll explore the historic Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, and the inner courtyards of the Forbidden City. Her accommodations are pre-arranged at the Sofitel Wanda—a 5-star hotel with Sino-French influences. Centrally located with easy access to the city square, the hotel also features 4 restaurants, ballroom, and spa.

March 20-21 – Xi’an. Next, Barb will head to China’s elusive ancient capital, Xi’an. She will come face to face with the terra cotta army and learn about dance and music of the T’ang Dynasty via a live performance. She and her group will overnight at the Hilton Hotel Xian, a contemporary hotel located downtown with décor inspired by T’ang Dynasty artwork.

March 22 – Fengdu. Barb will explore the “Ghost City” of Fengdu and its lovely, historic temples.

March 23-24 – The Mighty Three Gorges and Shennong Stream. Barb and the rest of the GT gang will hop on a river boat up the Yangtze and take in the scenery of the coastline and mountain peaks. She’ll visit the mighty Three Gorges Dam and learn about its ecological and economic impacts.

March 25 – Shanghai. Finally, Barb will land in Shanghai, where she has the day to explore this cosmopolitan city and its fascinating Bazaar, tranquil Yu Yuan Garden, and hip Tianzifang district. Her accommodations are located in the center of Shanghai, opposite the People’s Square. The 5-star Le Meridien Hotel has luxurious rooms that are equipped with wall to wall windows, 42” plasma TVs, 10 restaurants, and views of the Bund, river, or Shanghai’s skyline.

Call Wittravel to discuss whether GT is right for you. We can advise you of your travel options, make reservations and shape the perfect itinerary for your preferences! We put our clients first and work hard to ensure you have a terrific trip.

Extend your trip with an add-on in Japan or South Korea! Want to splurge for a night or two? Think about the new Club Med’s resort in Guilin! For reservations or general information, give us a call.

And that’s not all! General Tours always seems to have sales and offers going on:

–         Pay in Full 2013: Save $600 or more per couple on any of our 2013 Small Group, Private Tours or Small Ship journeys when you pay-in-full at time of booking by August 30, 2013.

–         Family and Friends: Pay in Full and refer a friend or family member and save even more on your booking. Save $50 per person when 3 guests go, save $100 more per person with 4, $150 more per person with 5, $200 more per person with 6+!

WIT Agents Linda, Christina, Pam and Wailana have all been to China. Linda recently traveled to Colombia on a small group itinerary with General Tours. Call us for more details! 800.821.0401 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Asia, China, General Tours, Our Travel Agents, SALES, Vendors, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?