Forbidden City

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Thursday was dedicated to the legendary Forbidden City, which is located in the heart of Beijing and houses the Palace Museum. This sight mainly served the Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasty starting from 15th century. It took us (Felix, Raphael, me) quite a while to get in there. Even we raised a new denotation, serving as the superlative of ‘crowded’ – ‘Forbidden City-crowded’! This was the first time when I actually thought how anybody could enjoy these world heritages under this condition. After getting pushed through the Forbidden City exiting in the north, we walked to the Beihai Park (北海公园, Beihai gongyuan) lying northwest respectively. In former days this place even was connected to the Forbidden City and counts among the biggest largest parks in Beijing. One literally outstanding thing of this sight is the Bai Ta, which is a 40m high sculpture wholly made of white stone (Source).

In the evening Felix and I were invited for a traditional Beijing Duck dinner by Madame Cai and her lovely daughter. I got to know the generous Madame Cai during the Hometextile fair in Shanghai while I was supporting the LFS in my internship. She told me, whenever I make it to Beijing, I can get back to her offer. Finally we ended up in a restaurant which is very famous for its Beijing Duck dishes.

On Friday we first met the Belgium guys Diego and his brother Jean-Baptiste and we showed them the Silk Street Pearl Market. Originally Felix and I planned to spend the whole day in this fake market. It turned out that we really could make it for 9 hours there and in the end even had to buy a suitcase to get all this stuff home again. We only stopped by at Lisa’s Taylor, where Felix received his 17 tailored shirts. Following that we had some nice dinner at an Australian Steak House at the Workers Stadium and went to the amazing club VICS directly afterwards. On Saturday, after having a really too short week in Beijing, we first tried to get all of our purchased stuff in the suitcases, and went to the Capital Airport to get to Shanghai again.

All in all for me the Beijing trip was a long awaited dream coming true and therefore I enjoyed the few days very much!

As the flood of pictures we took in Beijing isn’t manageable on this blog I hosted them on picasa, which is a fantastic service of google (for those who don’t know yet). Moreover I’ve introduced a new link-category called ‘picasa web albums’ where you can easily access ALL the 北京 (Beijing) pictures and even further albums of my China experience.

ENJOY!

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On the same morning we somehow realized that it’s the national holiday in Beijing. We thought – let’s go out to the masses! So we went to a place where we expected the most people crowded in one place. Suddenly it came up to our mind – Tian’anmen Square might be quite cosy for this intention. Seriously, it’s hard to describe it by words, but I haven’t seen so many people in one place so far. Check out the video of getting into the tube:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW1v5lYYjIM]

On the Square we experienced some celebrity status as everybody wanted to take pictures with us, especially with Felix who is with his almost 2 metres a unicum in China. 啊,很高老外!(A, hen gao laowai – Oh, what a tall foreigner)

As we could forget entering the Forbidden City that day, we decided to make our way to the Summer Palace, Yi he yuan (颐和园) where even more people spent their spare time. We met with a colleague of mine – of Vienna sinology studies – who is currently studying in Beijing. I appreciated this because he knows the city a little bit and therefore accompanied us. Some facts: UNESCO declared the Summer Palace a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design in 1998. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value (Source).

After that and a little snack, we targeted the famous Olympic Sights: the Water Cube (水立方) and the Bird’s Nest (鸟巢). I think any further comment on these sights is redundant – except: our famous “Olympic Sights Dance” as you can see on this picture. This place reminded of an open-door disco with some very loud music dashing through enormous speakers. Following that we went home and managed to get some extra bed for Rene in our room, because he didn’t have accommodation for one day before he left to Qingdao.

The next day the Forbidden City was on the plan. Entry follows!

At least 8.02 million people visited Beijing from September 29 to October 5, including 2.35 million overseas visitors, bringing in 5.25 billion yuan in tourist revenue, up 27 percent from the previous National Day holiday (Shanghai Daily).

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