Beijing Travel Blog› entry 2 of 25 › view all entries
We had a free breakfast at the hotel; a somewhat Spartan selection of rice, noodles, soups, steamed bread rollsâ€¦â€¦etc. We were pleased. We took a taxi to Tiananmen Square. The subway would have been safer-if we had known how to get aboard. The square was about half full of tourist organized into groups of 20 color coded Chinese tourists in single file lines behind the numerous flag wielding guides. The tourists themselves seemed more interesting to us than did Maoâ€™s remains, or the buildings and monuments themselves. That said, it is an impressively large square. From there we walked north into the Forbidden City, while fending off English speaking touts pretending to be art teachers. We worked our way through the maze of buildings, trying to stay off the main tourist route as much as possible.
From the park, we walked west to a lake where we turned north. We found ourselves walking through the alleys or â€˜Hutongsâ€™. It was not necessarily our intent, but more one of those things that we fell into that turned out to be quite interesting. We got a lot of weird looks from the locals as we walked past the gates to their homes, and we got a bit nervous, entertaining thoughts of backtracking to a principle street. Possibly foolishly, we decided to carry on, trying to maintain a northerly course through the tangle of alleys. Eventually we popped out on a main road, and spotted a national tourist office across the street. We went in, filled out the guest book, picked up some maps and chose a destination - Princeâ€™ Gongs Palace.
After having our fill of the palace we continued to walk along the lake until sun set. We tried to get a taxi driver to take us to the Peking Duck Restaurant, but it wasnâ€™t happening, so we showed him the card for the hotel , deciding to have our dinner at the same restaurant as yesterday. We enjoy celebrating our anniversary eating Peking Duck and all the compliments. The waitress showed us just how to use the plumb paste, bamboo, and crepes. We ate the whole duck and drank a few more Tsingtaoâ€™s (500ml each!).