We arrived in Beijing China around 6pm their time. We met 11 people from our group who happened to be on the same flight as us. As we made our way through customs we were greeted by our national guide Sunny. Sunny would travel with us for the entire trip. (he was the best guide ever). We boarded the bus and made the drive to our AMAZING hotel. Seriously, I was blown away by our room. The shower was a RAINFALL shower…and trust me after a day and a half of travel I was very excited for a nice hot shower.
The first official day started bright and early. The rest of our group (18 in all) congregated in the lobby. On today’s schedule was Tianamen’s Square, The Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace. It is safe to say it was a very busy day.
We were legit tourists for this entire trip. We had name tags, whispers (so we can hear the guide), cameras galore, we definitely stuck out like tourists! haha This square is the city square in Beijing. It is a BIG cement square (which makes it insanely hot in the summer time) It is right across the street from the Forbidden City. It is so crazy to me how there are modern buildings on one side of the street, and then ancient temples on the other. The Forbidden City was home to emperors for over 500 years! This place is HUGE! It is crazy to think that this sits smack in the middle of busy Beijing.
Many Chinese tourists also visit the Forbidden City. One of my favorite parts of the Forbidden City was seeing the many Chinese tourists dress up in historical costumes for pictures…this turned out to be a common fad every place we visited.
After we finished The Forbidden City we went to lunch in a local home. We took a ride in a rickshaw through a hutong (an older neighborhood in Beijing). Many of these families have been relocated to high-rises, but a few hutongs remain. After lunch we were all exhausted (okay maybe it was just me?) The time change was getting to me, and that comfy hotel bed was CALLING my name. We still had one more stop in our day and I was dragging. It was the Summer Palace. I was expecting something similar to the Forbidden City, but boy was I wrong. The Summer Palace was built by an emperor as a summer home. It is on a lake, and it is simply BEAUTIFUL. If I was the emperor, I would just live here year round. We walked along the lake and then took a dragon boat back.
For dinner we had famous Beijing Peking Duck, DELICIOUS!
I will be posting about the rest of my trip over the next two weeks!!! Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin to stay updated!