Beijing sights and the Great Wall of China

Beijing sights and the Great Wall of China

On Sunday night we came back to Shanghai after spending 5 days in Beijing. Besides the day trip to the water town Zhujiajiao, this was the first time I saw something of China other than Shanghai. We took the high speed train, so the 1300km journey was only 4 1/2 hours each way with a top speed of 350 km/h. It’s a really nice, smooth way to travel and the train was super punctual as well. The Deutsche Bahn could learn something here 🙂

The Summer Palace

We arrived in Beijing on Wednesday around noon and took the afternoon to visit the Summer Palace. We were really lucky with the weather. While it rained in Shanghai almost the entire time we were gone, we saw a lot of the blue sky in Beijing 🙂

For Thursday and Friday I had booked a tour. Our nice tour guide Jessie from Tours by Jessie picked us up from the hotel with a driver, showed us around, gave us a lot of information about the places we visited and told us interesting stories on the way. It was a super easy and nice way of seeing the city: very organized, efficient and with a built in photographer, which is why there are lots of pictures of the 2 of us. Usually, I’m lucky if I get a couple of those during a trip 🙂

Temple of Heaven, Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City

On our first day with Jessie we went to the Temple of Heaven, Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City is huge, apparently each Emperor could have up to 3000 concubines, so there had to be space to house them all. It was really cool to see it all in person and again, we had nice weather. You can see the smog a bit in some of the pictures but overall we picked a good time of the year so it could have been much worse.

After lunch we walked around in an area that had some traditional Beijing Houses, the Hutongs. We finished our busy day of touring with an Acrobatic Show at the Chaoyang Theater. It was an hour filled with crazy stunts and I thought it was fantastic and a bit scary at times (there may have been some “No way! No! Noooo!” screams).

Great Wall

Our second tour day was spent outside of the city. We drove to the Mutianyu section of THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA! I feel like I have to use Caps to fully highlight my excitement 🙂 We got up early (6:30 while on vacation!) so we could beat the crowds. We took a ski lift up and then had a choice to hike the section to our right or the steeper section on the left – guess which one Thorben made me do? Arriving at 9am on a Friday was a fantastic choice, at times we had the wall to ourselves. Some parts were really steep and I was tired pretty quickly but the fantastic weather and views made it so worth it. Did I mention that I saw the Great Wall of China? 🙂

The Ming Tombs

After the Wall we drove to the Ming Tombs, which were very peaceful and quiet because it’s 50km from the city and you can’t get there on the metro. At the Ming Tombs the emperors from the Ming dynasty are buried together with their favorite concubines, who, fun fact, had to commit suicide after the Emperor died. According to Jessie it was an honor, so they were happy to do it. Different times …

Unfortunately, I got sick after that and the only activity I still managed before we left was to eat Beijing duck (more on that in another post). Thorben also visited the Lama temple and Olympic park on Saturday and Sunday while I stayed in bed.

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