Travel Log of China Trip
We at Rutledge have been working closely with the Live Life Lisa Orsi Foundation over the last year. The big project was to send young people over to China to participate in the Asian Gaelic Games, which took place in Shanghai this year. Rutledge staff and students travelled to China along with 10 other sports clubs from the North-West area. Lisa played in the games and last year the Women’s Senior Cup was renamed the Lisa Orsi Cup in her memory.
We were honoured to have been given the opportunity to take some of our trainees to this event, to explore the history of China and to open our minds to the different cultures and traditions. To travel is to live!
We kept a travel log during the trip so we could share our experiences.
Rutledge staff and students started off on our trek China. The journey started with a bus trip from Derry/Londonderry to Dublin, followed by a flight from Dublin to Heathrow for the connecting flight to Beijing. This was a challenge for the students particularly, as they had never flown at all or not such a long distance before. But we got through it in one piece and after a gruelling 24 hour journey; we arrived in Beijing, willing and ready to tackle our first adventure: a visit to Tiananmen Square.
We spent most of the day exploring the beautiful Forbidden City, where we learned about the Emperor and spent time in the impressive Imperial Palace from the mid-Ming Dynasty. This was an eye opening experience for all of us, staff and students.
After we explored the Forbidden City, we went to see a traditional Chinese tea show being performed. These teas included Ginseng, Jasmine, Pure Black and also Lychee Black Tea. They all have different benefits:
- Ginseng is used to protect our throat and good for a cough, pure kidneys and enhance our immune system.
- Jasmine is used to help clean our liver. The tea leaves can be used for relaxation and to help with wrinkles. This was my favourite.
- Black helps with weight loss, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- Last but not least Lychee Black Tea helps with skin problems and memory which was good to learn about.
Next day saw team Rutledge exploring the Temple of Heaven which is an imperial complex of religious buildings situated in the South Eastern part of Beijing. The students really enjoyed learning about the different religious groups which exist throughout Beijing.
During the walk to the temple of heaven we got to witness Chinese locals sitting around playing traditional Chinese card games, having what looked to be a lot of fun. The locals playing these games were of all ages although the majority were elderly people.
On day four Rutledge took on the Great Wall of China, which was an amazing event for everyone involved. This is the world’s largest wall; over 2000 years old, 5,500 miles long and visible from Space (maybe a trip to space next year to find this out is needed???). We learned all about the wall’s construction and history. To be there and see it in person was a truly unique occurrence that is hard to put into words. Everyone was overwhelmed by this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
After the walls our evening included a trip to a beautiful authentic Chinese restaurant and market. During our time walking about the markets we learned the power of barter; one student described this as having “improved my confidence talking to people I don’t know and negotiating skills”.
Our time in Beijing had come to an end. It was time to head for our next destination, Shanghai, and to take part in the Asian Gaelic Games.
So on the fifth day we took the bullet train to Shanghai; this is one of the world’s fastest trains, travelling at 220 miles per hour. The scenery was breathtaking throughout the five hour journey.
After we settled in to our hotel the next stop was the Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower. The Oriental Pearl Tower is the second largest TV tower in the world at 468 metres in height – almost half a kilometre, imagine! The Rutledge explorers took in the fantastic 360 degrees views of Shanghai. The glass floor was a particularly exhilarating experience. One student described it as feeling like flying!
The following day we all enjoyed a leisurely stroll on the Bund. The Bund is a waterfront central area in Shanghai which runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River. This was a great opportunity for the students to relax in the beautiful surroundings of Shanghai. In the afternoon we had the pleasure of visiting the Irish consulate building in Shanghai; where we met the the Irish Ambassador of China and Japan, Geoffery Keating. The Rutledge students were keen to discover the daily duties associated with an ambassadorial role and had many questions for Geoffery.
On the seventh day we took a day trip to Disney Land. It was a magical time for the staff as much as the students and a chance to relive our childhoods and have some fun. During our experience in Disney we discovered there were six different sections of the park: Mickey Avenue, Gardens of Imagination, Disneytown, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Treasure Cove, and Adventure Isle. The whole place covers 963 acres so it is a lot to cover and we really enjoyed the exploration. A great day was had by all.
Days 8 & 9: The Games
At last we Rutledge staff and students entered the Asian Gaelic Games. After training sessions held in Derry before the trip the students were confident in their abilities to work well as a team, and the staff were hoping we wouldn’t let them down!
Teams from all over the world were there to compete in the various games in the hope of bringing home some silverware. The Live Life Lisa Orsi Foundation entered five teams in total and we were divided up amongst these teams. The foundation as a whole won three leagues and we were delighted that a team which included two members of Rutledge staff made it to the final. This showed not only ourselves but the students that we are capable of anything we put are minds to. Safe to say they made a splash throughout the two days and proudly brought some medals home honouring the legacy of Lisa Orsi, a true inspiration to our young!
This was our last day and we began the journey back home reflecting on the experiences we’d had and the new friends we had made. This truly was a once in a lifetime trip. Our students had the opportunity to gain valuable life lessons that developed their independent living skills in a way no classroom lesson could have. We are all very happy to have been given this wonderful opportunity; and to contribute to maximising the potential of our young people at Rutledge #TeamRutledge #MaximisingPeoplePotential
Rutledge would like to thank all the clubs involved for their support shown to our staff and to our students particularly, who made many friends and great memories on the trip.