Near the end of my stay in China I went to Beijing. I was very lucky for my stay there too. My friend that lives there told me that the summer weather in beijing has three phases, sunny, smoggy and rainy, and I was lucky enough to stay there during one of the sunny phases. The only downside to this was that it was incredibly hot. So hot that even though I was there for only a week, I didn’t go out every day. And when I did go out I tried to travel as much as possible by subway.
The first thing I visited was the Forbidden Palace. I went there in the weekend, so it was very crowded. It took almost an hour in line to get in, but it was well worth it. I spent most of that day there and because most major points had a description about what they were for, such as the hall where the emperor received guests, I learned a lot. There were also several exhibits, such as about the accession of an emperor. There they showed parts of a painting about a celebration surrounding the accession and the gifts they would give him, and artefacts that were gifts to emperors. Behind the Forbidden City stands Jingshan park, where I went up the hill for a picture and a short rest, before going out to eat and return to my hotel.
The next day I visited the Summer Palace. It was very nice, despite the hot weather. Up the hill and walking around Beihai was a cool breeze, so I didn’t feel to hot. At the top of the hill I got my Chinese name painted in traditional characters. The painter was really amazing, he put a couple of different colours on his brush and with a few swirls and twirls he was done. At Beihai I had my first taste of bingtanghulu, frozen Hawthorn coated in sugar. It’s very tasty and you should definitely try it out if you can. (No picture, sorry)
In China there is a saying, 不到长城非好汉, which means that you can’t be a real man if you haven’t been to the Great Wall, so of course I had to visit the Great Wall while I had the chance. On the way there I had a bit of an interesting moment though. There is a direct bus, but on the way there I was stopped by someone trying to convince me that that bus wasn’t going today and tried to get me on a slower and more expensive bus. Luckily I was with someone that didn’t fall for it because, as it turned out, the direct bus was still going. It was really crowded there, so it took all day to walk to one end and back.