Published: July 1st 2010May 8th 2010
Day 162: Saturday, May 8th, 2010
Per Intrepid Notes, "We arrive in Beijing early in the morning after a night on the train.
The capital of the most populous country on earth is quickly shedding its historical face in favour of modernity. However there are still plenty of places to go that will give you a great insight into the nation's history and ancient past as well as sights which showcase China's contemporary culture. After a transfer and check-in to our hotel, step out for a short orientation walking tour where your leader will point out how and where to catch local buses and subway, or where to hire a bicycle so you can further explore this immense capital.
We will take the subway from our hotel to the vast Tiananmen Square, the very heart of the nation for local Chinese and truly a grand sight. From there we will enter the Forbidden City, former home to China's Imperial rulers, for a guided tour of the palaces, buildings and seemingly never ending grand courtyards."
So the overnight train ride ended. Yea! We got to our hotel, the Beijing Golden Palace Hotel
, dropped off our bags, took quick
showers and headed out to Tiananmen Square
. The crowds, while there, weren't as bad as I thought they'd be. There was a loooong line wrapping around Chairman Mao's Mausoleum
but none of us were wanting to see a dead man, we were good. We headed over to Tiananmen Gate and thru the doors into the Forbidden City. More crowded in there. Marcia gets our tickets and we investigate the Forbidden City
. It goes on forever, and mucho history (that's kind of a "duh" comment). One interesting thing that keeps happening is that the Chinese love Damon. True, the man looks like Prince William, so that might have something to do with it. They keep handing him their kids to hold while they take pictures. I even got video of it one time (they handed him a kid that was about 6 or 7 to hold- isn't that a bit big for holding?) Quite amusing.
We finish up at the square (it's 2 months later, I don't remember tidbits, sorry) and Damon, Steve, Hamish and Marcia decide to walk up the hill outside to the pagoda that overlooks the city. I was 100% exhausted and was starting to feel a
cold or sinus infection coming on- I passed on the walk and sat with Rob and Liz at the base of the hill. Didn't take long for those 4 to climb up and down and then myself, Damon, Rob, Liz and Hamish headed over to the Silk Street
. We split up and buy our souvenirs. Damon and I had great hopes of going to the Pearl Markets as well but got distracted by a pizza place (had great pizza!!) and then I was distracted by my grumbling stomach and we headed back to the hotel.
That night, myself, Hamish, Liz, Rob and Mash head to a nearby restaurant and partake in Peking Duke- pretty damn good! At this point, I'm starting to feel a bit dizzy due to whatever bug is trying to get a hold of me.
There are more photos below