Beijing part 1 (day 1-3)

Beijing Travel Blog

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Bonsaitree expedition

The idea to book a holiday (it's been 5 years since my last one), came in september 2005. So after a few months of looking i decided to book a single trip. Most of my friends wanted to go with their boyfriends or just simply didn't want to go any further then Spain. I finally made the decision in december. It was a group of 14 people, all single, 4 guys/men and 10 girls/women. We had a great group. We met each other on Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport). After that we had a 2 hour flight to Helsinki, 2 hours of waiting, and a flight of 7 hours and 15 minutes to Beijing, China.

There is a +6 hour difference from the Netherlands to China. With the flight times it was pretty horrible. We landed on Beijing Airport at 7.35 am on the 2nd day, while we left the airport at 11.55 am NL time, which was counted as day one...So it became a very long day.

First we had to go through customs...and in China it was a row we stood in for about an hour and a half. I'm still curious how they're going to handle it with the Olympics coming up in 2008.

Morning gymnastics
..After that we went to the bus. It was about 45 minutes driving to Beijing. Because we were there very early in the morning we went to an Imperial Park, or well it used to be in ancient times, now it's a park where people can relax. You'll be surprised to see how clean it is there. Not a single piece of paper on the ground. And very green, much grass and beautiful trees. It was really nice to see people dancing, just sitting or doing a form of tai-chi. I made a few pictures there of a bonsai expedition and the dancing people.

We we're there for almost an hour, and after that we went to the hotel. Rooms weren't ready yet so we had to wait about half an hour before we could check-in. (It was 10.30 am China time). The room was really pretty, a two person room for a single person so i had more then enough space. We decided to see each other again at 3pm and then just seeing Beijing for a bit, after unpacking and a little bit of sleep.

We had a briefing at 5.00 pm about the most important things, a quick view on the day-to-day schedule and the extra options we had for excursions.

I won't bore you any further about that ;) After that we had a welcome-dinner...the first time eating with chopsticks. Very charming LoL. Anyway a few hours after that i went to bed because i was extremely tired...

Day 3

Our wake-up call was 7.00 am. Pretty early after a night with not much sleep. Jetlag can be pretty annoying...

We went to see the Forbidden City. It was the home of the Emperor. He lived there almost the entire year, with his family, guards, concubines and  servants, altogether there lived a few thousand people.

This is a guardian Lion. It's a sign of the power of the Emperor and it was believed that the lion would protect the Emperor from harm.

This is the male, with a ball under his paw. The male alsways stands on the right side of the door. The female has a little cub under her paw and stands left of the door.

You can also find these lions in temples and imperial buildings, like the Lama-temple and the Summer Palace.

Inside the Forbidden city we saw the Emperor's Chambers, and also those of his children and concubines. After that we went to a huge square with temples on it, that was also very impressive to see.

When we were done there we went to our next stop: The Temple of Heaven. We first walked through the huge park there. All the green is very peacefull. After we went through the gates we saw the main building inside the temple:

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest.

The roofs are blue because that is the color for heaven. The Emperor would pray for a good harvest, and would go back to thank for the good harvest.

And yes it's huge...

We went to see some other buildings around there, but unfortunately the Echo Wall was closed for renovation. (One of many sights as we would learn later on our trip). And that was day 3.

After dinner we went to do some shopping and that was it ;)

sylviandavid says:
Good blog and sounds like you did a lot. China is amazing....
Posted on: Jan 05, 2008
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Bonsaitree expedition
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photo by: Eric