Beijing, China, Asia
I got to see a bit more of the city today, and had some pretty decent weather to do it in. I woke up at 7am so Aleeda and I could head out to the Forbidden City when it opened at 8:30am. We were among the first people inside, and there was hardly a queue to get tickets. It worked out really well because we could see what we wanted to see without too much hassle of fighting through crowds.
The Forbidden City, or Palace Museum as it’s now known, is MASSIVE! We were only allowed to walk through the center corridor of the palace, so we could only see about one third of it. It took us an hour and a half to get through just that, so you can imagine just how big this place is. The amazing thing to me is that there is that much space taken up in the middle of a city the size of Beijing. Land is at such a premium here that the palace must be one of the most expensive places in the world based on the land alone.
The coolest part of the Forbidden City for me was the garden at the north end of the complex. It was filled with “exotic rocks” and Cyprus trees. They were all arranged really well so it was a very cool looking place. We exited through the north gate of the palace and headed across the street to Jingshan Park to get a view of the Forbidden City. From the top of Jingshan Hill, the view was spectacular! You could see the entire Forbidden City and the surrounding parts of Beijing. Of course the smog made it difficult to see far distances, but it was still awesome.
We went from there to the National Grand Theatre. I’d heard it was an impressive looking building, and it didn’t disappoint. It looks like a huge glass spaceship that has landed in the water. There are a few different theatres in it that show operas, ballets, kung fu shows, and other sorts of theatrical productions. It was a cool looking building, but we could only go into the lobby and no further. That was a bit disappointing, but unless I wanted to buy a ticket for the opera, I wasn’t getting in.
We walked around the Wangfujing area for a bit and grabbed a bite to eat for lunch and then came back to the hostel. We’ve just hung out here for the rest of the day, and I’m calling it an early night. I’m going on a tour (uh oh!) of the Great Wall of China at Jinshanling tomorrow morning at 6am so I need to get some sleep.