Our hotel was not in the huge hotel zone that many tourist go to but we ended up loving our location. Our of the overpopulated area and close to one of our tour places.
The emperor himself would walk down this walkway we are standing on, towards his dressing building, change clothes, enter the gate in the distance (green roof) and on to the Temple of Heaven (blue roof) you see behind the gate entrance. This was done once a year. Wow
After visiting the Queen's sleeping quarters, Emperor's living quarters and working quarters, the emperess quarters, we headed down the long and beautiful corridor to the lake. This property has so many buildings, temples, etc on the property. But going to the lake was such a highlight.
Also while standing in Tiananmen Square you can see the entrance to the Forbidden City (behind us in the left photo) while on the right is the flag that is guarded and has a raising ceremony. (we did not see it but saw them change the guards)
Finally - off to the Great Wall. There are many places you can go to the wall since it is about 3100 miles long. If in the US - it would run from California to New York. But the section we went to, Mutianyu, was still a drive away from Beijing. First, we would grab lunch at a restaurant just at the bottom of the cable car that we would eventually take to the wall. Mr. Yangs was the absolute best restaurant. Great food, silverware, western toilets - yes, everything great. Delicious.
Once back in Beijing we took a drive by the two huge buildings that were built for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing China. In the left photo below you see the Water Cube. This building was used for all the swimming/diving events. And in the right photo is the Birds nest. What a very cool structure. This was used for all sporting events like running, pole vaulting, etc. As you can see, the pollution has kicked up. When we first arrived in Beijing the wind had blown it out of Beijing but now it was back to normal. We were not prepared to find it like this on our return from the Wall.
We passed on going to the local shopping area in fear of what we would see. So back to the hotel to relax and get packed up. We checked out of our room since we would be picked up by another company to take us to the train station tonight and head to Xian on an overnight train. So off to the Spaghetti House for dinner. This meal would be the last for about 15 hours. (train ride is 12+ hours) Sure hope we can sleep. lol
The train station was HUGE, PACKED, and beautifully lit up at night. Matter fact - Beijing is beautiful at night. Seems to have lit up buildings as if you are in Vegas in many places. Very nice for what Americans think is a poor country. We sure didn't believe that after seeing Beijing.
We paid the extra money for a private sleeping car. We didn't know exactly what to expect but was pleasantly surprise at the cabin and of course, the western bathroom. Yippee (even house shoes)
The above photos show many of the 5' 8" warriors that are restored and put back to their orginal place. But in the photo below, you can see how the warriors are when found when uncovered. Many broken with pieces everywhere. Almost all missing their heads). Each one is numbered piece by piece and in the right photo you can see as they are put together waiting until all parts are found then restored and put back to where they were orginally found. A long and very impressive process for sure.
And of course, every city has a bell tower (took photo standing on the Xian Great Wall and that is how smoggy it was this day) and everyone has a drum tower. (below in the photo with Bob at night.
This was one of those trips that we are SOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad we did. But would we do it again - probably not. We would like to see Shanghai and maybe other places in China and the Asia countries but enough of Beijing and Xian. lol I know this blog has been long, a lot of photos and a lot of writing. But how would one understand what you are seeing without some history of what it is about. Beijing was a beautiful city for sure. The outside, not seeing the lives of the chinese would make me think they are a rich country but their culture has not caught up with their structures. But, it is the up and coming country and I can see it becoming very powerful.
Thanks again for taking this fascinating journey with us. This year has been filled with seeing so much and China's great Wall and the Terracota Warriors have been a big highlight of our year. I am so glad you could share it with us at least reading our journey. Next, back in the good ole USA. lol lol lol