Temple of Heaven and the Hutong tour
Beijing Travel Blog› entry 6 of 7 › view all entries
I guess I should start out saying that today; thorough interesting was not a very noteworthy day. It was another early day, so we can make it to the Temple of Heaven early enough to catch the daily exercises. I did not participate I was too busy to busy taking it all in and trying to stay in the sun since today was one of the coldest days of the whole week. Supposedly this was the expected temperature, which is also why we were at the tail end of the tourist season.
I have to say I never heard of the Temple of Heaven; but the structure just reminded me of a typical Chinese structure. I guess because it is a very photogenic place. It is also not an active temple, which I guess is a good thing since it was a place for animal sacrifices. Finally, for those interested in the Christian faith do what I should have done and research this place since it is suppose to have Christian symbology too.
The only problem with this place is I was so focused on taken it all in that I lost track of time and ended up being late for the bus, so the drive, tour manager, guide, and fellow passenger were all frustrated with me.
Our next stop was at the silk rug factory. It was amazing the detail that goes into these things �" ok, Mister Obvious �" but seriously seeing them work on these things, even if it is from a pattern is just amazing. It is also a good thing that the silk threads are strong since that makes breakages uncommon. Plus did you know that silk has two colors, so silk rugs will have a lighter side and darker side, always.
There was much more than just rugs, like silk paintings, including screens that have two completely different designs on either end and are generally made by two different artists. However cameras were limited here naturally, so I do not have many photos and everything, thorough still cheaper than elsewhere was still insanely expensive.
The next stop was a short drive and walk to a group of rickshaws, where we had a hutong tour and lunch with a local household, so the best lunch of the trip. Hutongs are turning into a rarity in Beijing; but it is still the preferred place the Chinese want to live. This is because the hutongs are quaint and tend to be enclosure within a common court yard, so the residents could easily share everything, like meals. This is a good thing since a few places do not have kitchens.
Our next stop was to a rich nobles house, in the middle of a hutong village, who back when there wer emperors did not pay his taxes, so the property was seized and given to a prince (emperor’s brothers).
Once we returned to the hotel, we went back to the room, where I had to pack for a very early departure (5am from the hotel). We then had a lovely farewell dinner at the hotel, where the only complaint I have is it was a Western dinner. It was delicious and I know everyone else really wanted it; but I hate eating food that I could get at home, while I am on vacation.