We had a great time in China. There were so many things to see and the weather was such a relief from the continuous heat of Singapore that we did not mind all of the walking and the ever present stairs of Asia.
The Shichahai Hutong area is a 300 plus year old neighborhood that still runs not much differently. It has been left for heritage and some for tourism. We took a Pedi-cab for a look at the area and then a private tour of a 300 year old home that was very cool and interesting. Then there was a walk up Tobacco Street to the Drum Tower.
The Drum Tower is a 157 foot high tower that has Drums that were used to tell time for the city. Of course there are tons of very very very steep stairs.
Forbidden City built in 1407 is massive it is 74 hectares and has 9,999 rooms. There were like a billion people there. To be honest It was not one of my favorite places….it was just so big without any grass or gardens…just tons of stone and buildings.
Jietai Temple is amazing. It is just so peaceful and beautiful. It was originally built in 622 AD the only portion that has endured since then is a huge marble alter at the very top of the hill. Most of the buildings now date from 1644-1911 but they are just so beautiful and blend with the surroundings so well you would think they had been there forever.
Marco Polo Bridge or Lugou Qiao first built in 1192 it is built of giant granite blocks and has 485 carved lions and no two lions are the same. While we were there I was so surprised to find that all of the water from the river had been blocked up and bulldozers where working in the drained river bed. After much questioning it turns out that the government had blocked the water to allow for the bottom of the river to be cleared of sediment and then to pave it to stop water seepage from the river. After this is completed they will allow the water to flow again. Even with the construction going on it was very beautiful and one of my favorite places in Beijing.
And of course you must visit factories….it is required. So we went to the silk factory, jade factory, pearl factory etc.
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