Getting to Beijing was lots of hours on a train. We only had four days and so we had to travel overnight to get there. We left at 9:30pm and loaded this nice train (4 "beds" for 6 girls) and arrived in Beijing at 7:30 am the next day. It was actually a good way to travel. We were tired but I was so excited to be in Beijing that it was worth it. (I have no idea what we were all laughing about when we took this picture sorry)
This is us right after we got off the train. A little tired and cold but very excited to be in Beijing!
Our first stop was Tian'an Men Square, which was a five minute walk from our hostel. It was Dayna's 2nd time here and she was excited to see everything again and take us around.
Tian'an Men Square has a lot of history. There have been several student protests. In 1989 hundreds of people were killed.
Our first stop was the Mao Mausoleum. This is where the embalmed body of Mao Zedong is on display for the public. It was kind of a strange experience waiting in that line of Chinese people, most of them with flowers to show their respect, and walking through the silent building to see Mao's dead body. His face was glowing because they shine a red light on it and his skin looks waxy. They don't let you take any cameras in so I don't have any pictures, sorry.
This is the Monument to the People's Heroes. It's a monument for China's revolutionary history. We spent a lot of time in front of this monument because groups of Chinese tourists kept coming up to us wanting pictures with us. Sometimes I feel like I'm a monument too with how many people want to take pictures with me.
When we finally escaped our celebrity photo shot we went over to see the Great Hall of the People which is the seat of the Chinese legislature.
Right across the street is the Forbidden City, which is the where the Old Emperors of China lived. This is the entrance.
It took us awhile to get into the Forbidden City because of the amount of Chinese people who wanted pictures with us at the entrance haha They were really funny though. I think these were my favorite people, especially the man on my left. He kept making faces.
The Forbidden City is really beautiful. It's kind of amazing to think how old these buildings are and to think that all those Emperors of the Dynasties lived here.
It is also really huge!
I got a little distracted at one point and started taking pictures of monks who were standing near me. I love this monk with his sunglasses on his head. The monks figured out that I was taking pictures of them and not the buildings (it's harder to be a good stalker with my big camera now, it's a little less subtle you know.... ) The monks started pointing at me and watching me so this was the only good shot I was able to get without them laughing at me.
The next morning we went to the Summer Palace. This was where the Emperor went during the Summer when it was too hot to be at the Forbidden City. I thought the Forbidden City was big....the Summer Palace is beautiful. This was our first glimpse, literally four steps in:
It is full of big decorated gates, we stopped for posing for pictures at each one after awhile. Here's one of our model shots:
And the big beautiful Lake in the middle of the gardens. This is the famous seventeen arch bridge that connects an island to the mainland. It has seventeen arches because when the Emperor stood in the middle there was always nine arches in both directions and the number nine is the lucky number for royalty.
We also had to do our Chinese photo-taking duty on the bridge. This guy was hilarious. I really love his winged bangs haha
Dayna got a little romantic with our Chinese friend…..just kidding. Just an awkward picture.