So, after leaving the suitcase that my mother brought (full of FOOD! That you can’t find in China))):
at about 11 am we set off for so-called the main attractions of Beijing – Forbidden City （故宫- gùgōng）and Tiananmen square (天安门广场 － tiān’ānmén guǎngchǎng).
Since it was a national holiday in China – Labor Day (劳动节 – láodòngjié), a few underground stations were closed in the centre of the city and it was tremendously crowded in general. Whoever is going to travel in China, I advice you not to do it during Chinese public holidays!
So, making our way through the crowd, eventually we reached the square by taking a rickshaw ride which took us through hutongs – the famous side streets of Beijing (胡同hútòng):
So here we were at the Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City:
After spending or rather wasting time on these two attractions for 3 or 4 hours (as they are totally fake in my eyes and are worth visiting just for the sake of putting a tick on the sight-seeing list) we walked to one of the best Beijing roast duck restaurants -全聚德(Quánjùdé):
The restaurant was nice mostly for the fact that you can see the ducks being roasted in the stove and then a cook cut the duck that you ordered right in front of you and serve it straight away. Though we had to wait in the queue to get a table, it was totally fine because it gave us extra time to watch the ducks being cooked behind the glass:
After the cook cut our duck, we got a full set on the table: the duck’s skin from the back goes with the sauce, the duck meat is wrapped in the pancake together with the sliced cucumber and some grass, and of course chilly:
Having had a goooood dinner (吃报了) and being quite tired after a long day that started at 5am, we were good to get back to the hotel and get a good rest just to wake up the next morning for the…
Great Wall of China – 长城 (chángchéng): the Meng Jiang Nu part孟姜女 (Mèng Jiāng Nǚ). The day started in a very exciting and interesting way. Here is the story:
We set off for the Great Wall of China at 7am. Going by public transport, instead of taking a tour is indeed much more interesting. We took a bus that would take us to another town, where we would get on a mini bus that would take us to the wall itself. As we were approaching that town, a man in a uniform got on the bus, telling us it was our stop. To my questions why we arrived sooner than expected he didn’t reply anything but kept on saying that we were supposed to get off right there. The bus driver didn’t say a word and eventually we got off, our eyes searching for mini busses, which would cost us 8 Yuan per person to the Great Wall. What we saw, though, were just taxies and the man who made us get off the bus was taking off his “uniform”, turning into a simple taxi driver. It wasn’t long till he told us that he would take us to the Wall by taxi (which wasn’t even an official taxi but just a car) for 150 Yuan. You should have seen a surprise and disappointment on his face when he saw me speaking Chinese, telling him it was his responsibility to take us to the wall for the same price as the mini busses, since he didn’t let us continue our journey by ourselves. Little was I surprised, thought, when he was blown away in 1 minute and I didn’t see him again. Though another driver, who had been standing close by, told me that he would take us both for 20 Yuan with a young Chinese couple who paid him 60 Yuan. As they say, never have business with a Chinese 😛 ( Note: I mean Chinese from China;)
So, having improved my speaking skills with the help of that sneaky Chinese taxi driver, we happily reached the Great Wall, got up to the wall by the cable car and enjoyed our time there to the maximum:
From 11am till 4pm we were walking on the wall, taking pictures and stopping for a picnic on one of the towers. The trip from the wall to our hotel took us 2 hours and as soon, as we got there, we went to the Red Theatre across the street for a Kung Fu show from 7pm till 9pm. It was spectacular! I had seen the famous Beijing Acrobatic show before and in my opinion it is not even half as good as the Kung Fu show!
Day 3 in Beijing:
The third day was fully devoted to The Summer Palace – 颐和园 (Yíhé Yuán, literally “Gardens of Nurtured Harmony”), which I personally find one of the most beautiful and worthy of spending time places in Beijing. Currently the largest royal park in china, Summer Palace served a former imperial palace and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Beijing. There is no need to describe it – pictures will show the palace better than any words:
The next morning we got on the D train to Suzhou, from Beijing South railway station and in 5 hours of fast ride we were in the Chinese Venice…
to be continued… 😉