According to our guide, the three most important things to do in Beijing are to see the Forbidden City, go to the Great Wall and eat Beijing roasted duck. We did all three of those today! We started out with our group around 8:30 this morning. The day was beautiful with enough breeze to blow the air pollution away for the sun to get through. The group is bigger now, as four new families joined us today. First we went to Tian An Men Square and walked north down the axis of Beijing into the Forbidden City from the southern gate to the northern gate. The Forbidden City is being refurbished right now. Some buildings on the northern side were done and these buildings are gorgeous with deep bright paint jobs and golden roofs but the buildings toward the southern end have not been refurbished yet. You could see a huge difference! Chloe, shared lots of interesting stories with us and I just hope I remember it all!
The famous Tian'an Men (The Gate of Heavenly peace) is the main entrance of the imperial city in both the Ming and Qing dynasties.
When we left the Forbidden City we went to a local restaurant for our Beijing roast duck lunch. The restaurant would have been considered just a step up from a dive in the US and was tucked away in downtown. We never would have thought to go in on our own but it turned out to have a nice clean private dinning room where we were served delicious local food, including our roasted duck! There was a huge lazy Susan in the middle of the table and they just kept putting new dishes on it. We tried almost all of them with few exceptions.
After our meal we hit the road out of Beijing to the Great Wall. On our way, we went past the new Olympic stadium, which they call the Bird's Nest. It really does look like a bird's nest! We also saw the Water Cube, where they will hold all the water sports and the new soccer stadium. Because the traffic was very bad it took much longer than it should have to get to the Great Wall and our time at the Great Wall was cut short, but we had time to go a ways up and get lots of good pictures. It was really beautiful!
This is a very steep part of the climb. Actually, it was all very steep!
There we are on the Wall!