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Published: October 8th 2011
The following day we had a slightly more leisurely start before heading back to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City – this time with our passports! As we came out of the subway we realised that forgetting our passports the first day had been a blessing in disguise, the scaffold from the front gate of the Forbidden City had been removed following the application of a fresh coat of paint and the light rain the previous night seemed to have cleared away a lot of the haze so we had a much clearer view of the sites.
We checked in our bags and then joined the line to see Mao. The line moved very quickly and after only about 10 minutes we were inside the main hall filing past Mao / wax model who had been installed in his place in silence. The mausoleum has a really cool atmosphere – everyone is silent, except for the guards who occasionally speak in very hushed tones. You file past the body in two lines and it’s all over and done with very quickly. All of a sudden you pop out the other side of the building and are surrounded by stalls selling
Mao memorabilia. From there we made our way to the main part of the square to take some photos before heading over to the Forbidden City.
The Forbidden City somehow survived the Cultural Revolution in very good condition. The complex is amazingly vast and the buildings are absolutely incredible. It was built by the same emperor as the Summer Palace which puts into perspective just how much power and influence that guy had. There are two rings of walls which surround the complex of buildings and gardens. As with the Summer Palace it’s all the details that make the complex so spectacular, for example a series of paintings which appear to be identical are actually completely different on closer inspection.
That evening we had dinner at the food street near our hotel, which was actually quite fortunate as when we went to leave the restaurant we realised it was pouring with rain! Much to Scott’s disappointment the rain put an end to my evil plans to explore the shops near our hotel so we headed back home to rest up before the Great Wall.
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