After a four hour flight, we arrived finally arrived at the capital of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing (北京). Since we were up north, Spring was colder and gloomier there compared to the south. It was a freezing 10 degrees in Beijing when we arrived.
Our first day in Beijing was spent just touring around the city, and familiarizing ourselves with the places around our hotel. We went around their malls trying to look for food and gloves. Yes, we needed gloves because it was too cold for us. We look stupid with our gloves and scarves while the kids there are only wearing sweaters.
The new China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarters.
The scene at Xidan North Street. It’s a busy shopping district in Beijing.
I suddenly remembered the red brick houses in Qingyuan. I really love how China finds ways to always connect with their past.
On our second day, we went to two very important places in Beijing. First was the places around Tiananmen Square (承天门). We went around the Beijing National Opera House, or otherwise known as the Bird’s Egg. We didn’t get inside, but we just did one lap around the egg. I also don’t get the bipolar lighting in Beijing. Sometimes it’s bright, and sometimes it’s not.
The Great Hall of the People, right next to the Bird’s Egg. The past the and the future coexisting in the present.
It was barely Spring there but you can still see the effects of Winter on most of the trees around Beijing.
And a few blocks away from the Bird’s Egg is the The monument of the People’s Heroes and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong at the center of the Square.
Tiananmen Gate Tower to the Forbidden City. I can’t even fathom the amount of history surrounding this place. I feel so grateful to even be in an iconic place like this.
Inside the Forbidden City. But not really. Since we were Forbidden by our schedule to go inside. The queue for the tickets looks longer than the Great Wall. You see what I did there?
I felt like taking a photo of this man leaving the souvenir shop with his custom made coin.
The crowd at the Forbidden City Gift Shop.
A beautiful willow tree outside the Forbidden city.
I love how they instill a sense of National pride to their children at a young age. No wonder they’re so proud of their country.
After we had lunch we drove up to our next destination. While at the car, I noticed that Beijing is so scenic. Everywhere you turn there’s always something beautiful to look at. The photo above is another beautiful reminder of what it was like here during Winter.
We finally arrived that our second must-see tourist Beijing destination, the Beijing Olympic Park. It houses the main venues for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We were greeted by the 2008 Olympic cauldron when we entered the park.
The Beijing National Stadium, or otherwise known as the Bird’s Nest. I was very moved when I was how huge the stadium really is. Let me digress a little. Back in 2008, I really rushed to get home from my 7:30pm class to catch the live telecast of the 8:08pm telecast of the 2008 Olympics. It officially started at 08/08/08 8:08 PM. I was literally running home. But I’m glad I was able to see it live. I was, and still very much, a huge Olympic geek. I live for their Opening and Closing Ceremonies. And fast forward to 2012, seeing this huge stadium in front of me was very overwhelming.
I was too flustered at the thought that I’m about to step inside the stadium. So I had to pause and take a picture. Ha!
At long last. After 4 years, I’m finally inside the bird’s nest. This was taken from my dad’s camera.
While I was inside, they were playing the highlights of the 2008 Olympics. I was imagining all the amazing things that happened inside. The pomp and pageantry of the Opening Ceremonies, the victories, the energy of the people inside. It would have been nice to be here when it happened. But I’m still grateful that I’m here.
That’s me inside the stadium. I can’t wipe off that stupid smile on my face when I was there.
After that we went inside the Beijing National Aquatics Center or otherwise known as the Water Cube. Half of it has been turned in to a water park.
But I’m glad they still maintained the competition center. All the time I was there I was imagining the synchronized swimming routines in my head. And Phelp’s winning moments inside. Also, can you spot the Philippine Flag?
It’s so beautiful inside the Water Cube. Plus it was adequately heated so it was a nice way to escape the cold outside.
That’s me again, outside the Water Cube. I’m wearing four layers of clothes. And I love that I got to wear my pea coat there.
And that’s Grace. She my dad’s student and our very own tour guide around Beijing. Her English is very good and she’s very smart. I really loved our conversations together. While we were driving, she was listening to Lana Del Rey. She’s so cool without even trying. That’s a Chanel coat by the way.
The Olympic Boulevard. It’s in the middle of the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube. Where we hung out for a while to get a hot cup of coffee while waiting for the sun to set.
A trip to Beijing is not complete without trying the Beijing Duck (Peking Duck). It was so good that I almost ate half of the duck.
On our third day in Beijing, we headed up north to see the Great Wall. It was a 3 hour drive from the city. 1 hour if there’s no traffic. Apparently, it was a holiday in China when we went there. So there were lots of people who went there with us. The Beijing country side is very beautiful.
Before we climbed to the Great Wall, we decided to have lunch first.
We decided to eat in a little family-run restaurant. It’s a quaint little place where they serve the “best rabbit” in the area. We didn’t try the rabbit.
A cute Chinese boy staring at me while waiting for our food to arrive.
Finally learned to eat rice with chop sticks. My chop stick proficiency at this time, 85%.
Beautiful china in China. You see what I did there? I swear that restaurant has very beautiful lighting all over.
After lunch we decided to head up. This was our ride to the Great Wall. If you walk, it’s safe but will take a long time. If you use the rusty old cable car, you get there in less than 10 minutes, but you’re dangled up on a steep mountain with the strong winds blowing and rocking the cable car. We took our chances with the latter.
Alas, the Great Wall of China (万里长城). This was on the Badaling side of the Great Wall.
I had to pinch myself because it was too cold that I couldn’t feel my nose anymore, but also because it was very stoked that I’m finally on the Great Wall.
That’s me on the great wall with 5 layers of clothes. Still smiling and still very happy that I’m finally here. While I was there, I wondered where they did the Fendi Spring/Summer 2008 show here. I can’t imagine what it was like to do a full scale fashion show in the Great Wall, of all places.
We descended again through cable cars back at the foot of the mountain. We spent an entire day just to see an old wall. But I was all worth it.
This is the written history of the Great Wall. I wish I could read that.
A Chinese hero related to the Great Wall of China. I forgot his name. Quality Travel Blogging ya’ll.
After a long day, we finally headed back to our hotel, have dinner and get some much needed rest.
This was our 4th and last day here in Beijing. This was the view from our hotel room. We had a wonderful view of the Bird’s Egg.
This was all I saw while driving up to the airport. Highways covered in leafless trees, eagerly waiting for spring. While the sun hid shyly behind them.
Finally at the airport. I was still half awake when we got there. And still couldn’t believe we were finally leaving China. I’ve had a really good 7 days in China. I’ve taken in so much in a short amount of time. But all good things must come to an end.
This was our ride for our next destination. This is the Airbus 380 from China Southern Airlines. It’s only the biggest commercial plane in the world. Notice the 2 floors? Anyway, I’m going to miss Beijing and all the places we visited in China. I really hope I can comeback.
Next stop, Hong Kong!