On The QT


Bloggers: Fiona & Glenn

China: the country of 1.4 billion people. A country that had never made the bucket list but when the opportunity arose to go to a traditional wedding, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times, or something like that! So with a rucksack and a jam packed itinerary we headed off for a three week adventure.

I’d read the guide book and scoured the internet but nothing could prepare me for the constant noise, multitude of smells or intimidating congestion that hit us upon arrival in Beijing. I felt completely overwhelmed and didn’t know if I could cope with the constant stares, stench of street food and being squashed like a sardine on every metro ride! But what’s the point in travelling if you fail to embrace difference? So determined to see what Beijing had to offer, day one included The Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and The Forbidden City.

The Summer Palace which dates back to the 18th century was built as the extensive gardens of the royal family. Consisting mostly of Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake it occupies over 700 acres. A walk along the Long Corridor is certainly recommended with stunning views of dragon boats sailing the lake. The crisp morning and brightly painted buildings provide a stunning background to a tranquil lakeside walk, away from the noise and chaos outside the gates.

Originally the place where the Ming and Qing dynasty emperors held the Heaven Worship Ceremony, The Temple of Heaven has been opened as a public park since 1998. You can join the locals for a game of chess or simply sample the extensive variety of teas in the Teahouse. With so much history and culture the park is certainly worth a visit, but don’t be intimidated by the sheer volume of information, a leisure stroll in the afternoon sun to the different temples and buildings will provide a sufficient insight to different beliefs and cultures.

Our last stop was to The Forbidden City. Lying in the city centre, just to the north of Tiananmen Square, it is the world’s largest palace complex. The walled city, a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site, houses numerous rare treasures from its five centuries as the Imperial Palace. As you walk from the south to the north gate you can’t help but notice how the royal colour of yellow is dominant throughout. The grand hall is decorated spectacularly, but you will most definitely be subjected to excessive pushing as everyone tries to capture the best shot. Don’t hesitate, get amongst them, it’s worth a view!

Our day in Beijing concluded with an early night’s sleep and dreams of conquering the Great Wall in the morning!


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