Its been over a week since we returned but we still would like to share our time in Beijing. Its like no other city we saw in China, as the political hub of the country it has a completely different vibe and effects from the renovation of the olympics are still very noticeable.
Our first stop in the afternoon on the day we arrived was Tiananmen Square and then the Forbidden City. This is the south gate of the only section that remains of the old city wall, everything in Beijing is bigger. The Parliament Building on the side of the square. Tiananmen square is massive, but not as open as we envisioned. It the background you can see Mao’s Memorial Hall, we would visit his body a few days later. The entrance to the Forbidden City. Every year a new painting of Mao is completed, replacing the weathered one. Inside the Forbidden City; all roofs of imperial buildings are all yellow, while most other structures traditionally had red or green roofs. The detail was amazing, but not all of it had been maintained, which is a monstrous task considering the size of the compound. Beijing lacks the numerous skyscrapers found in all of the other cities in China, but makes up for the lack of height in interesting architecture style of all the modern buildings. Temple of Heaven, I was getting pretty artsy with my photos. We really have perfected the group picture at this point. Summer palace. This was rebuilt by Empress Cixi at the expense of the military and as restored is a beautiful complex. Looking at the summer palace and the mostly man made lake that it sits next to. The detail in the artwork in the restored sections matched most of the original work. Each individual painting was original and amazingly detailed. The roofs, once again in imperial yellow, were adorned with dragons and other figures representing who live there.A marble boat at the summer palace. We stopped at the new building marvels of Beijing, the site of the 2008 olympics. It was hot and we all enjoyed popsicles while walking through the park. This is the great wall….Duh!! There is a several mile section section that has been restored for tourists. It is really striking that this was built in the first place, its massive and you can see the older and restored sections snake over the ridges and around the mountains.The quickest, and most exciting way down from the great wall; we supported the amusementification of this historical place. Just like hiking on Hua Shan or biking in the street, safety is a personal risk one just accepts. We had a rickshaw tour of a Hutong, a traditional neighborhood of Beijing. Nine dragon wall in Beijing, one of the last group pictures.