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China

Citytrip Beijing

7 days City trip

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I have some catching up to do with my travel blogs, but I don't want you to miss out on some of my trips. Beijing [Beijing-travel-guide-208144] might have changed a lot since the olympics so if you plan a trip there this blog might not be accurate enough but maybe it can give you ideas on things to see or do. When I told at work I was going there one colleague said 'oh nice! going to a warm country' not knowing Beijing in ferbruari is freezing! Why go in februari then? Well, my aunt got the offer from a travel company she ones traveled with and she asked me if I would like to come along. We had 7 days with a group of 17 on a tight schedule, but on arrival we first had the chance to acclimatize a bit and we used that time to go to the nearest supermarket. Crossing the streets in Beijing is a bit tricky, we found out the best way is to just start walking and look determined.
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Dinner is served on a glass turntable, all kinds of food and all delicious!
Next morning we go to the forbidden City, its very cold but that means little tourist. We start the tour walking like sheep behind our guide with his little blue flag, we all felt dumb, but we had little choice. We did get some time to explore on our own as well. Next is coffee at a souvenir shop (mandatory), then Tiananmen Square. We tried to get our guide to talk about the protests of 1989, but he dodged to answer all questions. After a bit it's back on the bus to go to the Temple of Heaven. This temple has a beautiful blue roof and it is said you can ask questions to the gods here, some of our group tried but got no answer.
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After that we got some time for souvenir shopping and then dinner: hot pot, a kind of chinese fondue.

Due to the foggy weather the next morning we first went to a Jade factory (yes, we bought some) Then the sacred road. It's a beautiful area and we were the only ones there. You can visit all the Ming tombs but we only had time for one, Changling. Then another factory, cloisonne (we didn't buy some). Unfortunately it still was foggy but next on the list was the Great Wall at Badaling [Badaling-travel-guide-1309487], it was crowded and you couldn't see very far, pity! We bought some t-shirts, bargaining of course!

Today we went to theTemple of Azure Clouds or Biyunsi, very beautiful buddhist temple! Long stairs bring you to the top where the temple look pretty Indian.
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There is a room with 500 buddah statues, I didn't count them all but there are lots! Then again a factory, pears this time. Then off to the summer palace. This is huge, we could have spent the whole day but we didn't have that much time. Pity it was foggy again, there would have been beautiful views. In the evening we went to the Chinese opera. Thats something else, anyone who thinks about going to see that, bring ear plugs! Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have wanted to miss that! The costumes and makeup are great and it's really a show!

Another day of sightseeing starting with the temple of Confucius and then a bit further down the road the Lama temple. On our way there, walking behind the guide with his flag, we heard music coming from a building besides the road.large_1297706_1417353211793.jpg
Us curious people went to the window and looked inside. A local opera group was rehearsing. They saw us and one of the singers came outside to invite us in. While our guide walked on the whole group disappeared inside, it must have been a scare for him to lose a whole group of tourists. It didn't take him long to find us though. At the lama temple there is a huge statue of buddha, wasn't allowed to take pictures of it. After that shopping at the silk market, which is more like a cotton market with lots of fake brand clothes, if you go there beware, it's mostly illegal stuff! For dinner we were on our own this time, guide had an evening off. My aunt and I went to the restaurant at the library, good food and ridiculously cheap.

Today we had a full day off so we got up at 6:15 (!) to go to the park and see the locals do their Tai Chi.large_1297706_14173532121216.jpg
Today the air is clear so we plan a trip to the Great Wall, not at Badaling again but at Mutianyu [Mutianyu-travel-guide-1328445], our guide wrote us a note for the taxi driver (hardly any speak English), we asked the group if anyone would like to join us (two of them would like to) and we went on our way. It was great! The driver had to ask locals for directions but when we got there we almost had the Wall for ourselves. And the view was great ! We spent the whole day there, walking around, buying souvenirs, ordering lunch with hand and feet and after that the same taxi driver brought us back at the hotel.

Our last day we visited a hutong, a traditional residential area. We went there by pedicab, visited a school, one of the homes and some old people put up a show for us. Then the drum tower and the Bell tower en after that the tea ceremony.large_1297706_14173532123539.jpg
Again those Dutch people try to ask all kind of strange things, if the girl has a boyfriend or maybe even a girlfriend? The girl didn't even believe something like that exists. In the afternoon we visited Beihai park and we had our last group diner at the famous roast duck restaurant (you can get the ducks heads roasted on a stick at the back door) Next morning long flight home, sadly

Note: back in 2004 I didn't have a digital camera yet so all the pictures are scanned (hell of a job btw)

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Posted by Stefmuts 23:53 Archived in China Tagged landscapes food culture city_trip analog_photo Comments (0)

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