beijing, houtons, temple of heaven, great wall:
Beijing Travel Blog› entry 4 of 19 › view all entries
MAY 4, 2007 Another amazing day in Beijing.. We went on a tour of the hutongs. We rode a bus into the area and went to a regional tour guide who specialized in Hutongs. We went to bicycle rickshaws. David and I got a tiny, older man as our bicyclist. On the hills he could not keep up with the group and labored to pull us along. I told David I could die of embarrassment. I was ready to get out and push. or get out and run away!
We stopped at a "typical" house and spoke to the couple who owned it. .......So there we were,.... 12 people stuffed into their tiny living room asking the man questions.
Then back out to the bicycle cabs and watch our guy straining to keep up with the group then getting off to push the bike as he tried to catch his breath.
We went to the Bell Tower and climbed up the 69 steep steps to watch a drum demonstration. We both love drums so it was really neat to watch.. They had girl drummers which we felt broke from tradition : the drums told time before everyone wore wrist watches. Like our night town criers in the United States. There was also an ancient clock in the tower.
We returned to our bicycle rickshaws. Our guy was resting in the shade and for a couple of minutes we thought he had run away (who could blame him?!) but he reappeared and we went to the Temple of Heaven.
The Temple of Heaven is a wonderful imperial temple. The emperors came to worship and ask for a good harvest. It had great gardens and rocks. The actual temple of heaven is beautifully colored and perfectly painted. It was really important for an emperor to have a good crop and no natural disasters as they showed the emperor was in heavenly favor and the dynasty was stable. It was my favorite building in Beijing.
We drove out to the great wall at the Badaling site. Although I read quite a few people say it was horrible to view the wall at that site I really liked it. I thought it was crowded but it was still the "great wall" and I was there! Happily so! Our tour guide said to turn to the left for fewer people and we did.. it did make us climb right away but it was still great.
We went about a mile and enjoyed every foot of it. One thing I found really interesting is the lack of uniformity in the steps. Some would be 12 inches high and some would be two inches high... next to some 6 inches high.... the craftsmanship was there but.
We didn't get very many pictures.... but ...... we have our happy memories and we are so glad we got this wonderful opportunity. It was too short of a time for me .... that is often how it is. It gives me something to see the next time I go to China.