Beijing Fun Fact – Beijing is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China
I spent three days in Beijing and did quite a bit. I arrived in the morning and had some time to wonder around and get used to the city I was in. Luckily I was with like-minded travellers and they were willing to go to the local restaurant and have something to eat. We asked our tour guide where we could eat and he told us to walk along the road from the hotel and look for a restaurant and surprisingly we came across one almost immediately.
We found a local restaurant and that is when the language barrier reared its ugly head at us. As it was a local restaurant nothing was in English nor was it catered for tourists. We had to do a lot of pointing and animal sounds to determine what we were ordering.
Looking back I have to admit it was very embarrassing but we didn’t really have a choice. Eventually we were able to order some food which is shared amongst the group. Big bowls of food were brought out for us to share and eat and even the beer. It was a wonderful experience sharing with people whom I had made friends with on this trip and just passing food around each other and having authentic food. I recalled some of the people I was with wanted to use knives and forks but the restaurant didn’t have any. I found it quite amusing watching people attempting to use chopsticks. I learnt pretty quickly how to use them as I wanted to be just like a local.
Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square
The Forbidden City is a tourist hot spot and there are hundreds if not thousands all around us, which made it overwhelming and sometimes difficult to enjoy. I had not conducted any research before going to the Forbidden City and did not realise there is one way in and way out but what we later discovered there different exit points thoughout the city.
Before you walk into the Forbidden City you start at Tian’anmen Square which literally is a large CLEAN square and I mean clean, as mentioned in my previous post a lot of staring and photos ops were taken of myself and the group. It was amazing to be standing in this square of where the Tian’anmen Tank Man once stood, it just left me in awe. While out in the square there were a lot of school children and what stood out for me was, they were dressed exactly the same and walked/marched in such unison and precision there was no lagging child or a child out of line it was pretty amazing and I can never forget.
This gentleman decided to take a picture of us so I took one of him as well, it was a small victory for me.
In the approach to the Forbidden City there is an extremely large portrait of Chairman Moa, till this day I am adamant the eyes followed me around. I appreciate it is an optical illusion but this made me really uncomfortable upon entering the Forbidden City.
Once inside the first gate of the forbidden city you enter the Outer Court and the following is there; Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe Dian), Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghe Dian), Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohe Dian) and Gate of Heavenly Peace (Qianqing Men). Next is the inner out which contains; the Palace of Heavenly Peace (Qianqing Gong), Palace of Union and Peace (Jiaotai Dian) and Palace of Terrestrial Tranquillity (Kunning Gong). You then have Imperial Garden and Mental Cultivation Hall (Yangxin Dian) and exiting at the Gate of Divine Might
I enjoyed the outer and inner court seeing the different rooms and how emperors lived, with such wealth but, it got very boring and crowded and after a while everything looked the same. I just couldn’t understand why there was so many rooms/homes within this city and it appeared to be over decorated. Do not get me wrong it is still magnificent to see the designs and styles of what they had then but it just got boring after a while and I got fed up fighting with the crowd to see what was behind the wall.
Great Wall of China
The walk up to the Great Wall of China had a lot of traders earning a living which I fully respected however it slightly spoilt the walk up to the Wall, which is so popular in history and will continue to be in years to come. It is a wall which man cannot replicate today, there have been other walls made since the Great Wall of China but none can compare to it.
Surprisingly, the Wall was not as busy as the Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square so I was able to enjoy it a lot more. The first struggle I had was climbing up the steps, they came up just below my knee. Now I am not a tall person as my blog name suggests I am only 5ft 1, taking each step was struggle and at one point one of the steps was steeper than my knee and I literally had to climb over the step. Once I reached the wall my vertigo hit and I literally stuck to the middle so I didn’t have to look over the edges but eventually I overcame it and continued to explore the wall as much as I could. I would highly recommend anyone going and I would love to do it again but hike more of the wall which is permissible and enjoy the views from the Wall.
During the night we stopped by a street food market and tried a number of delicacies including a scorpion. Taste like prawns I think.
The last places I visited was the Tombs of the Ming Emperors, Summer Palace, National Stone Palace, tea tasting and Beijing Olympic Park. I don’t have much to say as I don’t really remember what I experienced.
The Big Questions
Would I go back? Yes
Why? Just to do The Great Wall of China again