We arrived at 5.30am into an already bustling Beijing. Jay's navigation skills (he made me put that) successfully delivered us to out hotel on foot with only a Chinese map! Where we then followed our normal routine which is to crash out for a couple of hours.
Refreshed and revived we headed off for a leisurely walk around the Temple of Heaven Park. The Temple of Heaven is a little oasis of peace and tranquility in a very busy city. It would also be fair to say that Beijing is a city in preparation for the Olympics with a lot of renovation and refurbishment to major sights and roads. It gives a little flavour of what London will be like!
Over the next 2 days on our whistle-stop tour we visited the Forbidden City (not all the 9,000 rooms we prefered the courtyard and gardens), Tiananmen Square (where we missed our second embalmed Communist Leader, this time because of the length of the queue) and the Great Wall. Its really hard to find words other than 'beautiful' or 'stunning' so we'll leave you to look at the pictures! We particularly like the ones of the Great Wall snaking off over the hills...
We also met up with our 'train buddies' and met Andy's Chinese girlfriend Lee who took us out to sample some authentic Beijing/ Peking duck. We went to posh restaurant where we each paid 4 pounds for dinner and drinks!! Lee was very disappointed with the size of the duck and demanded to see the carcass (which they presented to her at the table). Very amusing!
We managed to pack quite a bit into 3 days - as 2 American travellers pointed out to us we have travelled through 2 of the biggest countries in 2 weeks... We also spent 3 hours searching through a tat market on the other side of town to achieve mission 2 (Jay was insistent that we would not fail!).
The hotel we stayed in was beautiful and everyone was really friendly - so if you are going to the Olympics in 2008 you'll have a brilliant time (and we can recommend a good hotel).
Love Trish & Jay