After living for 4 months in China, it was high time for me to go and visit Beijing. I took advantage of an impromptu business trip to have an express tour of the capital city.
The week-end kicked-off in a bit of a rush: finish work at 7.30 on Friday night, leave Shanghai at 10.00 and arrive in Beijing by midnight. The next morning, wake up call at 7 am, direction the Great Wall.
The Great Wall (Chang Cheng in Chinese) is this massive and really impressive, 9000 km-long stone wall. We reached it by cable car and then started walking on the wall itself, which is quite a hike! Reaching the highest towers takes a while, and there are quite a few steps to take, but it is really worth the effort, especially with the wonderful weather we were lucky to have.
We visited two spots on the Great Wall: Mutianyu, which is rather touristy, and Huang Hua, which is much quieter and secluded. In Mutianyu, after admiring the view and some intense leg action, we had an amazing time on the slide that took us down the wall. There again, you could see the difference between careless Europeans going down the slide as fast as possible, and respectful (or scared!) Chinese people going as slow as they could. I must confess to slightly bumping into a poor child in front of me…After these emotions, we took it to Huang Hua (Yellow Flower) in the afternoon for a bit of peace and quiet. We fished our own lunch and had it in a little hillside restaurant, with the same wonderful view of the wall.
On the Saturday night, it was the cherry on the cake! Or, rather, the duck on the crepe. As you know, Beijing is known for its “Peking Duck”, and it was a must for us to have it at least once. The cutting ceremonial that goes with it and the wonderful sauces and condiments made for a truly amazing meal.
On Sunday, we were off to the other key attraction of the city: the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square (above). The Forbidden City was erected in the middle of Beijing, under the Ming and Qing dynasties. At its entrance on Tiananmen Square, the massive portrait of chairman Mao reminds you not to speak too loud around there. We spent a few hours in the beautiful Forbidden City before heading to an area with traditional houses: the Hutongs (below).
We finished the trip with a visit of the very hype and busy area of Sanlitun, and then hopped back on the plane to kick-start a new week of work, super fresh!