Beijing

Beijing, sometimes romanized as Peking, is the capital of the People’s Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world. The population as of 2013 was 21,150,000. The metropolis, located in northern China, is governed as a direct-controlled municipality under the national government, with 14 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast.

 

When we arrived to Beijing, we planned to take the metro from the airport to the hotel. The mood was good, we even met a local American at the train, who told us where to go to and what to visit. Suddenly we arrived to our stop, where we had to transfer to another train. This is when it got a little weird. Of course we didn´t find a place to pay for another ticket. Finally, when we had found it, we had no idea, what it cost and we also thought we didn´t have that much money to pay for it. Then we thought that, OK, I think we´re not that far from the hotel, let´s walk. So we got off the underground and this is the first time we were in fresh air. Wow, like whaat? The air was so hot, we thought we´re going to melt instantly. After trying to figure out, where the hell we are supposed to take the direction to, we were so melted and tired and thought, what the heck, let´s take the freaking taxi.

Of course there were so many taxis who wanted to offer us a ride. And no, no, not because we looked so beautiful and hot, but because we were like two fools that had no idea how things work there. Of course we were quite happy to pay 100 money for the trip to the hotel, which wasn´t really that far! Let´s just say that the cab driver was really excited! After we started to reminisce, the metro was only 4 money. So get that! But OK, what are you going to do about it, you have to get fooled at least once a holiday. 😉

Shortly we made it to the hotel. Now the shouts! I was soooo freaking happy, I loved that hotel and I´ve always wanted to stay in a Shangri-La hotel. This was my first then. 😉

Let´s just say that it is the best hotel in Beijing. Read about it here:

Shangri-la China World Summit Wing, Beijing *****

http://www.shangri-la.com/beijing/chinaworldsummitwing/

At first, the hot weather was like a slap in the face, but soon we got used to the 36-degrees weather. We visited the Forbidden City, which is beautiful, but we cannot compare that to the castles that we have here in Europe. The city itself is quite large and walking it through takes quite some time.

 One interesting fact, there were so many people that wanted to take a photo of us. I felt like a celebrity, in every few minutes someone came and asked if she/he could take a photo of us. In some point there was even a little queue of the people who wanted to take a picture. Later we asked, why do they want to take pictures of us and we were told that it was tourist season in China and there are so many people from the countryside who have never seen a white person before. Vot tak. 🙂 So much for our beauty… 🙂

 I do have to mention that the Forbbiden City is so much more than just walking around. The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. It is located in the center of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost 500 years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.

Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 ha (180 acres). The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artifacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Part of the museum’s former collection is now located in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Both museums descend from the same institution, but were split after the Chinese Civil War.

TIP! Just for a fact in between the stories, you can stay for 3-days visa free in Beijing. You have to stay in Beijing though. At first we were worried whether we can visit the Great Wall of China because it was out of the city but luckily we discovered that it is possible. So good to know!

 That night we found this cool small restaurant that made authentic Chinese food, hmm, it was so great! The place was from walking distance of our hotel. By the way, our hotel was in the China World Trade Centre!!!

 TIP! In China and in Taiwan as well, there are lots of toilets that are very weird. There is just a hole in the ground. So of course I was so scared to visit any of the toilets, fortunately in the restaurant for women there was a normal toilet, which we are used to.

 The next day we took this tour: Half Day Beijing Great Wall Tour. The tour was excellent. The guide was very nice. They picked us up from the hotel, the car was clean and nice. Could not have expected anything better. I looked through internet a lot of tours and to be honest, don´t look anymore, take this one, very professional and easy. I am very happy I booked this one.

 We didn’t visit the most famous place that people always go to see the Great Wall of China, but the second most popular. This was so much prettier too, as they say. Altogether there are three places where you can visit the Great Wall of China: Badaling, which is most touristic and no one recommends but it is full of people; Simatai, which is far from Beijing and should be the most authentic and the third one is Mutianyu, which is 90 km from Beijing and should be the best place to visit. We went there and it really was very beautiful.

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China in part to protect the Chinese Empire or its prototypical states against intrusions by various nomadic groups or military incursions by various warlike peoples or forces. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BC; these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall. Especially famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains. Since then, the Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty.

Other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.

The main Great Wall line stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east, to Lop Lake in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has concluded that the Ming walls measure 8,850 km (5,500 mi). This is made up of 6,259 km (3,889 mi) sections of actual wall, 359 km (223 mi) of trenches and 2,232 km (1,387 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measure out to be 21,196 km (13,171 mi).

The views were so amazing from the Great Wall of China. One of my dreams had come true – I´ve always wanted to see the Great Wall of China.

 Of course we visited the night markets, bought lots of electronics and stuff like that… 🙂 Haha, and I also bought cool champagne glasses. After shopping it was time to leave again, we had a flight to Taiwan at 4 o`clock, so we ordered breakfast and coffee to the room. It was an amazing stay in Beijing.

 Oh, at the airport we discovered once again how polite the Chinese are. In the security gate my jewellery bag made lots of confuse. They wanted to check it a lot. Since we were in a huge hurry, we run after getting through the security gates to our gate and of course I had left my jewellery bag to the security gate. Can you imagine, it was full of silver and gold jewellery and some of them were quite expensive as well.

 We were at our gate, till someone came and asked whether I had left something to the security gate. We were like, I don´t know, I don’t think so… I remember I was thinking that, why is he looking at me so weirdly and then I remember I thought about my jewellery bad and I was like, oh nooooo, I think I know, I think I might have left the bag there. I remember that I had this really stupid look on my face and my mind was so slow at that time. In a while there was this thought in my head that I have to panic and run back to the security gate. I started go react on my thought and then the security guy who was behind the guy that came to ask us the question smiled and gave me the bag. He insisted that I look if everything was there, that nothing had been taken. I was again so confused but I got around to do that, because he really insisted. Of course everything was there and I was so thankful to the two guy, let’s just say I was in great shock! 🙂 Still, I´m so very grateful and thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂

Overall the people in China are so nice and polite, they have such great manners. They only have one huge mistake, they don´t blow their noses into the handkerchief, they inhale it really fast… Don´t know how to describe that in English. At first we always startled and thought that someone´s about to die, but now I know that it´s just their way and in their country everything goes like that.

 

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