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Approximately four million Chinese traveled to Europe in 2011, and the number is expected to grow over the next few years.|
It’s no news that these deep-pocketed tourists enjoy shopping in Harrods, posing on the Champs-Élysées and drinking wine in Bordeaux.
But what else is on the agenda?
According to a recent post on gadling.com, Chinese tourists have charted a unique route to celebrate communism and classic culture in Europe.
Here are six off-the-beaten-track destinations explored by thousands of Chinese tourists.
Marx's birthplace: Trier, Germany
This historic city is the birthplace of Karl Marx, founder of Marxism.
Marx still enjoys heroic status in China and Chinese tourist groups have been a common sight in Trier for the past decade.
Most skip the main tourist sites and dash directly to Brückergass for a this-one's-for-the-folks-back-home photo in front of the house where Marx was born in 1818.
Legends of communism city: Montargis, France
Wealthy Chinese tourists flock to this small city to pay homage to their former communist leaders.
A small group of Chinese students, including Zhou Enlai (周恩来), Deng Xiaoping (邓小平) and Chen Yi (陈毅) studied in Montargis in the early 20th century and laid the foundation for Chinese communism.
Poetic tree: Cambridge, England
More precisely, it is a certain willow tree at King's College.
The tree was mentioned by Chinese New Moon poet Xu Zhimo (徐志摩) in his poem “On Leaving Cambridge,” written when he was about to leave the university after two years’ study in 1920s.
A stone carved with the ﬁrst and last lines of the poem in Chinese was placed in King’s College in 2008.
More European desitnations
Other cities prized by Chinese tourists include Bonn, Germany, where Chinese trace the life of the greatest musician in their hearts, Ludwig van Beethoven; and Verona in Italy, which many Chinese regard as the most romantic city as it is the "hometown" of Romeo and Juliet.
True to type, Chinese tourists also go gaga in Germany’s Metzingen, an unassuming shopping city that is home to the Hugo Boss factory outlets.