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Our China Trip: Chapter 1 – Beijing

September 2, 2016


It was a real thrill to spend 5 days in Beijing! Although there is never enough time, we tried to pack in as much as we could in the days we were there. Despite Beijing’s reputation for ‘questionable’ air quality, rain had moved through just before we got there. As a result, the days were relatively clear and sunny – good fortune to start our travels! On our first full day, we went to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and Jingshan Park. There was a real sense of history being there (construction started on the Forbidden City over 600 years ago)!   I’m including some video slideshows of pictures we took along the way:

The next day was a real thrill – seeing the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. From the visitor center, we took a cable car up, and then hiked the wall. What a spectacular view! It was such a nice day that we decided to forgo the cable car down, and hiked back to the visitor center instead. After that, we went to the Olympic plaza, where we got to see such iconic features as the Bird’s Nest, the Beijing Water Cube, and the Olympic torch. All in all, a very cool day.

Day 3 included a tour of the Temple of Heaven. Like the Forbidden City, its origins date back over 600 years. We also took a bicycle rickshaw ride, which, although it’s a very ‘touristy’ thing to do, was a neat way to see the Hutong part of Beijing (characterized by narrow alleys). Another highlight was seeing the temple of Confucius, which was founded in 1302. It was very thought-provoking to see the grounds where this great philosopher spent much of his time. One of the highlights of Day 4 was getting to see the Summer Palace, which dates back over 850 years! We concluded that day with a visit to the Capital Museum, which has among other things priceless Ming vases, as well as cultural artifacts that were over 4000 years old.


UPDATE:  Emily posted some time-lapse footage from our rickshaw ride here:


UPDATE #2:  We’ve posted video of our days in China here:


Please check out our pictures from our stay in Beijing here. Next up – Chapter 2 – Guilin.

Previous chapter:  Our China Trip: Prologue – SoCal layover

Next chapters:
Our China Trip: Chapter 2 – Guilin
Our China Trip: Chapter 3 – Nanning
Our China Trip: Chapter 4 – Yangtze Cruise
Our China Trip: Chapter 5 – Shanghai
Our China Trip: Chapter 6 – Hong Kong
Our China Trip: Wrap-Up


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