Friday, May 4, 2012

One Jump

Last week, Andrew (from Chinese embassy and Xi'an) came to Nanjing to start his vacation. We went to Xuanwumen Lake and the Yuhuatai area and he did other exploring when I was at work. Sunday night, we took the train up to Beijing. 

Monday we met up with 2 girls whom Andrew had met when they slept on his couch in Xi'an a few weeks prior (Lara and Sissi) and their new roommate (Monique). We went to the Forbidden City. As someone mentioned (I forget who), it's not so forbidden anymore. It was also a holiday, so there were masses upon masses upon masses of people. 
We saw about a quarter of it as we shuffled around. The garden was nice. Then we went far far away for some peking duck. Then Lara, Sissi, and Andrew went to find a camera shop, while I went with Monique to pick up her ticket for the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and I picked up a business card for future reference. We all met up later to walk through the night market. 
Forbidden City

Tuesday, Andrew and I moved from our hostel to room with Lara and Sissi at their hostel, which was more centrally located. (Monique had left for her big railroad trip.) Eventually, we headed off for the Summer Palace. We spent a majority of the day exploring some parts of that, including taking a boat ride on the lake and climbing a very steep hill to see the Hall of Buddhist Incense. Chinese emperors definitely knew how to take up a lot of space with their palaces - it was ridiculously huge. 
Hall of Buddhist Incense on Longevity Hill
Wednesday was GREAT. Woke up early, got the train, bus, and taxi to Mutianyu, a slightly less touristy part of the Great Wall of China. The sun was out and the sky was blue. It was even more awesome than I thought it could be. The mountains were huge. Took a cable car up to the top and we walked from Tower 6 past Tower 1 where the wall wasn't so well preserved back to Tower 14 (there are 23 towers on this section) then to Tower 6 to toboggan to the bottom. The views were incredible. The climbs were steep and the stairs sloped to the side. The breezes in the towers were life-saving. It was glorious. We then went back to the city, and the three went to get haircuts and I went to see Tian'amen Square at night. Very pretty.
Can you believe I walked this?

Thursday was my last day in Beijing. I woke up early again, walked around Tian'amen Square, and headed toward the Temple of Heaven. The Temple of Heaven is really the Hall of Prayer for the Harvests, but it has a great big garden and a marble altar for sacrifices and was very pretty. Picked up my bag and got a train ticket back to Nanjing. 
View of Tian'amen Square

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (AKA Temple of Heaven)

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