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Location: Datong

Even though today was our first and last day in Datong, it was still an amazing day! We had just the right amount of time to soak in the entire city! In spite of a late train arrival and a head cold that’s going around the group, we pushed through and tried to make the best out of our only day here. After a breakfast of toast with jelly, we headed to the Hanging Monastery for our first activity of the day. The monastery was absolutely beautiful, and it was so worth the wait in the line below. To pass the time, we tried to guess what time we would make it to the end of the line. All of our guesses were within a minute of each other, so it was so much fun to either race or slow down at the top. Bex won, even though Shaun said he won (his phone was off)! The monastery was super high, but the tight stairs and narrow passages made the whole experience 10 times more fun! When we made it all the way down, we went to lunch in a hotel with a private fancy room for us to dine in. After lunch, we made our way to the Buddhist caves! The caves were so beautiful and so much bigger than everybody expected. To get through the caves, we had to push through a bunch of huge tour groups, but that made for another funny experience! We made it just in time for the museum at the end, with exactly 10 minutes to explore the museum. It was not large, but the artifacts were fascinating to look at. At dinner, we had a really great last meal in Datong. It was funny to see the shirtless Chinese men just eating their dinner in the room next to us! Since we had some time to kill before our train, our bus driver took us around to his favorite spots along the way. We stopped at a nice bridge, where everybody got great pictures. We also stopped at a park, which was very busy for a Monday night! Lots of people had glowing balloons and the kids were riding all sorts of neon glowing bumper cars and toy motorcycles. We wandered over to the lake on the far side of the park before leaving to catch our train. Today ended up being a great quick trip to Datong, and we all wished to stay longer – the city was amazing!