Bejing, the last of the Chinese saga

Trip Start Mar 10, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bejing, the capital of China, filled with plenty of culture and things to keep you busy. The city is huge and just like most of China, a very busy place; lots an lots of people getting on with their daily lives and on top of that, it's full of tourists (just like us). You could spend weeks here and still not see everything. We only had four days, so we hit the main sights.

On the first day we rented out bicycles, just 2 per day! Everybody here rides a bike, and most of the roads have cycle lanes which makes it nice and easy to roam about. The first place we cycled to was Tienanmen Square, the biggest public square in the world. It was huge! We could hardly see the other side, partly due to the smog that always lingers in the air.
We then cycled around the Forbidden City walls, which were also massive. We ended up in Jinshang park just behind the walls and climbed a hill, which offered stunning views of the Forbidden City and its' surroundings.
In the evening we went to the night market. This is where Chinese food becomes a bit weird... We ate scorpions and snakes for dinner (see photos), and I can happily say that I will never have the urge to try them again.  

The next day was a bit rubbish. We went to the Summer Palace, and within 20 minutes of being there, it stated to pour down with heavy rain. As most of it was outside we had no choice but to run for the metro and head back to our hostel where we just lazed about waiting for the rain to stop. It didn't stop so we went for dinner, and had the famous Bejing dish, "Peking Duck".

We woke up the next day to blue skies so we decide to visit the "Great Wall of China". There are several places to see the wall; we visited the Mutianyu Wall as it's within easy reach of Beijing (1 hour) and is said to have less tourists the the others.
It wasn't exactly what we expected... The wall is built at the top of a mountain. To get to the wall, they had a chair lift, and to get down from the wall they had a huge slide! It spoiled a bit of the landscape but I must admit that it made it more fun. The rest of the wall was spectacular, It stretched as far as the eye could see (see photos). We walked along it for a while and eventually came to a sign saying "No tourists past this point". It was too tempting not to, so we carried on for a bit, where we got to see the wall in its' original state, all overgrown and broken in parts. The best thing, was that we were the only people there. It carried on for miles and we eventually decided to turn back.

On the last day we went to the must see "Forbidden City", given this name because once upon a time it was forbidden for anyone to enter apart from the Emperor and their servants. The poor servants weren't even allowed out, some of them born inside, never seeing the outside world. 
The Forbidden City consists of 9000 rooms, spread over 250 acres of land. It's so big that to explore it all would take more then a day. We took an express tour and walked around the main bits. It was an amazing sight but there was far to many people there to enjoy it properly.
Later on that evening we had a plane to catch for the Philippines.

My final thoughts of China: It's big, busy and full of culture. Unless your a culture vulture and don't mind crowds of people then stay clear of the cities. China's rural areas are beautiful, my favorite place being Yangshuo. I don't think I'll ever return but I surely won't forget it.

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