YEAAAHH!!! I'm in BeiJing!
was how i felt although i arrived very late, had like 2 hours of sleep only and couldn't keep the hotel room till the evening to have a shower before i leave :(
The start was not very encouraging, taking into account the lack of a proper map, and the limited english of the average chinese.
Stop1 was the Summer palace, which we reached after a detour thanks to the guy that took us to the wrong place, but we got there eventually and as a lot of Imperial things in China the place was huge, we probably didn't cover half of it, it was very nice though, it's these palaces and pagodas built around and on a lake, some small islands connected with bridges etc... It was really sweet, romantic even, all in lush green, and colorful architecture. Had to cut the visit though if we had any plans to get to the next destination.
Since stop2 was the Great wall at MuTianYu. That was a good 40 minute drive out of the city, and it IS amazing, the moment it comes into view, your heart skips a beat, on the top of a green beautiful mountain, this section is really special, it's also one of the most preserved ones, with the further advantages of less people on it and no hand rails and stuff, looks more ancient and has more space for photographs that way :) (without strangers in your background). You go up and down on a cable car, but there's a more fun down option, a little kart down a half tube, don't remember what they called it but it was loads of fun! :D
A warning though, this thing is very tiring, steps up and down all over the walls, nobody followed the architectural rules for staircase building there, it's very steep and the way back up is not easy...But still, this was the highlight of my trip to China, I've seen the Great wall, one more addition to my 7 wonders of the world list :) (one of them).
Back into the city stop3 was TianAnMan square and the forbidden city. I have to say that BeiJing seriously exceeded my expectations, although China is considered a 3rd world country, it's heading straight to the top, the city is clean, organized, well connected, easy to get around and really beautiful and welcoming. Now the Forbidden city used to be where the Emperor stayed, it has different main buildings or halls, each has a specific purpose at a specific time, the place is again very big, with a lot of rooms around those main halls, and the main palace. The chinese did a great job preserving and restoring the place, it looks like new. But to my opinion, that's exactly what takes away from the glory of the place, i didn't feel the history, it was like something built yesterday.
Stop4 was for food, extremely tired and pretty hungry, we had to stop for a good meal, it was about time, after which i headed to the Temple of Heaven but i reached too late and didn't make it into it, took a couple of photos from the outside, walked in the gardens but that was it.
And that was also the end of my day in BeiJing, i managed to get a shower after all in the hotel's gym :) Then all fresh and happy headed for the airport to fly home...sweet home :)