Family visit I: Beijing
Did you miss me? I am back after two weeks of holidays! I’ve been visiting several cities in China with my parents, my brother, his girlfriend, two aunts, an uncle and a cousin. And C.!
The first stop in our route was Beijing. I lived there for 3 years so the city has a special place in my heart. I like going back and checking how things have changed (or not). This time I noticed there were more trees and the city was way greener than I remembered. The air was filled with that cottony thingie from the trees (I guess allergic people were not very happy about this).
The family visit didn’t start well. Everybody was supposed to meet in London to take the same flight to Beijing, but half of the party got delayed because their plane had a flat tire. Seriously! Planes also get flat tires! So I had to go twice to the airport on the same day to welcome two batches of people. But, apart from that, the rest of the trip went very well.
There are thousands of things to see and do in Beijing, but when you only have a few days you have to choose. This time we visited, in chronological order: the house of Mei Lanfang (it was close to our hotel), Houhai, Beihai park, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall, Nanluoguxiang (I know, now it’s a tourist trap), Qianmen (where we ate in a fancy duck restaurant), Tiananmen, the Forbidden City and Jingshan park (from where you can see the roofs of the Forbidden City).
I had been to Beihai park only once, ten years ago. This time it was very crowded because it was the May holiday.
Our hotel was in Huguosi hutong, a street very popular for its restaurants. It was a nice street, and the hutongs were cute.
I am not a big fan of the Temple of Heaven, but for some people it is a must see. At least it’s quite big so it doesn’t feel very crowded.
In a mall across the street from the Temple of Heaven we found the infamous facial recognition toilet paper dispenser. What? You don’t know what that is? It was in all the newspapers a few weeks ago!
I really wanted to revisit the Summer Palace. I think the last time I went there was in 2009. It’s a beautiful place.
We were super lucky with the Great Wall. In the end I decided to go to Huanghuacheng (黄花城), a part I had never visited before. It is located in a very pretty area with lots of greenery and a lake. And there was basically no one else! I had never seen the Great Wall so empty.
The day we went to Tiananmen and the Forbidden City you could sense there was something in the air… the day after there was a huge sandstorm!
The Forbidden City is also not one of my favourite places in Beijing, but it’s a must for tourists. It was indeed crowded, with many tour groups, even though it was not a holiday. And I read that from October on they will only sell tickets online, so prepare in advance if you are planning to visit!
And this was a quick summary of our days in Beijing! In the next episode, I will write about the gorgeous city of Jinan!