- Photo diary: Beijing pt. 1 -
After almost five months in China it was about time to check out the capital city. I spent altogether six days in Beijing, in which four of them I spent with Alexandra and two of them were spent solo. During this time I got to see so many new places, meet new people, practise my Mandarin with locals, and best of all - eat till my jeans ripped. Yes, that literally happened and now I have to budget for a new outfit damn it.
In Beijing we had a very flexible daily itinerary, and most of the places we went were spontaneous. While everywhere and everyone around us seemed to be extremely busy with the Chinese New Year preparations, it felt good to have the freedom to just relax and take things slowly as they came. I really enjoyed it! Coming up are some of the places we went:
Zhengyangmen (Qianmen street)
Qianmen, also known as Zhengyangmen, means 'front gate' in Chinese which is exactly what this was build as during the Ming Dynasty. Leading from the gate is what we know of as Qianmen Dajie, the famous pedestrian street. The street was filled with small boutiques, coffee shops and restaurant offering all kinds of traditional Chinese treats. It was not as crowded as I expected it to be, but wherever it was a mass of people they would usually be at the same places. I find that very intersting though, especially here in China where I've had to ask myself why so many Chinese people love to queue so much? Maybe it's a culture of strong herd mentality.
We went to Tian'anmen Square and I'm glad we did despite my mixed opinions about it. It's been written everywhere that this place is a must-see in Beijing, but honestly I found it a bit overrated. Compared to many of the buildings and cultural sights I've seen around Beijing this was not one of my favorites. The thought of all the political tensions that's been going here wasn't adding to the good vibes either to say the least. But it was interesting! And freezing cold.
Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
The resting place of China's former chairman of the Communist Party, Mao Zedang. As much as I'm intrigued by the history and respect that Chinese people still pay his tributes, I couldn't help but be reminded of North Korea. You figure out the rest.
The Temple of Heaven
I still remember the first time I saw the Temple of Heaven. It was portrayed on a quilt inside the Parliament House in Canberra in Australia, randomly enough. At that time I didn't even know what or where it was but I've always remembered it since because it's such a unique construction. Thus seeing it in real life was extra special for me and definitely one of my highlights of this trip.