Map of Beijing
At the beginning of the day we head to a map of the city where our tour guide explained the layout to the city. It is made up of six ring roads which go around the forbidden city, which has many gates and walls around it.
The Chinese believe in yingyang so the city is divided from to left and right, down the dragon line which is at the centre of the city. On either side there is a temple and in the north and the south, both equal distance from the forbidden city. The southern temple is the most famous temple, named the temple of heaven.
The east of Beijing is now more business orientated. This is because it is close to the airport, whereas the west is typically political.
The previous weekend had been a Chinese national holiday so we were lucky to have missed the mass crowds and were also able to see the massive flower statue they had out on display for the holiday period. Despite the floods of people in the previous week I was still shocked at how busy this place was. Infact, I was actually more shocked at the proportion of Chinese tourist vs other tourists. The western tourist vs the Chinese tourist I would have said was about 1 to 6,000. Well at least it felt that way in the square.
Although it was still morning I had become used to people stopping and staring. It felt like we were celebrities. Although my whole group is from the west I seemed to be top pick for pictures due to my blond hair. When travelling from the airport I noticed people were slyly taking photos of me and staring, however, today people were actually interrupting my tour guide to ask for photos. I didn’t mind but it just made me realise how little western tourists there actually were here in Beijing.
The forbidden city was owned and lived in by the 24 emperors. Their wives would only enter once on their wedding day and never leave after this. There is an inner and outer gate which surround the living quarter which included a botanic garden. Although the place was beautiful I couldn’t help but think how bored the wives of the emperors must have been locked away in this, what felt like, massive secret garden.
The structures were immense with intense colours and beautiful architecture. Many of the buildings had been repainted for the olympics in 2008 to give the tourists a taste of what they looked like back in the day. These were highly comparative to the dull original sections.
After walking from the back to the front outer gate we then went for a dumpling lunch. These were so tasty, however six was quite a lot and I felt very full.
Our bike tour went through alley ways, Hutong lane and main roads which admittedly scared me as the roads were so busy and drivers are ruthless here. Although there are bike lanes, bus drivers and even pedestrians didn’t use their designated lanes.
We decided to make the most of our time in Beijing so although we were all very tired we forced ourselves to get on a subway to the park.
I felt the bird nest was a lot more impressive than the aquatic building. The designs follows the yingyang concept. The bird nest on the east, the aquatic centre is on the west. The nest is green and the water is red.