12 June 2015

beijing, part 1

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okay,  we seriously fell in love with beijing. it is such a cool city!

we had two days with the best tour guide, our new friend glenn wu.  he had shown my sister and her family around when they were in beijing and we totally hit a goldmine by hiring him. he took us to all the best places and taught us a ton and was a complete pleasure to hang out with. when we got off our train at 7am in beijing, he was waiting for us with a sign and a huge smile. {if you’re ever in beijing, email glenn and have him show you around! - glenn_wu@aliyun.com}

our first stop in beijing (after dropping our stuff off at our hostel – more on that later … it was so so awesome) was the temple of heaven. there, i immediately fell for imperial chinese art and architecture – so so colorful and vibrant and beautiful! glenn taught us about the symbolism at the temple of heaven, which was super neat!

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^^ like in many other places we visited in beijing, there were lots of senior citizens dancing and doing tai chi around the temple of heaven. i joined in for some dancing :) ^^
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^^ check out this long corridor leading to the temple. love love love all those colors and designs! ^^
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^^ the ceiling inside the temple. so ornate! ^^
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our next stop was tiananmen square. really cool to see the center of the chinese government and to learn more about the historical events that have happened in this place. the square itself is so huge! glenn took us to a fantastic restaurant for lunch and then we entered the forbidden city, which blew us away. so so huge and just immaculately, spectacularly beautiful. the weather we outstanding and we were super happy.

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^^ i love glenn (in the red coat) in the background of this gopro picture we took in tiananmen square! ^^
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^^ eating in china was difficult for us a lot of times. but glenn knew the right restaurant – this food was so delish we had gobbled it all up before i thought to take a picture :) ^^
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^^ i loved just strolling through the neighborhoods in beijing. color patterns and red lanterns everywhere! ^^
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^^ us + the moat around the forbidden city + all those dreamy willow trees, just budding out for spring! ^^
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^^ i know there’s a lot of pictures that look similar to this. i’m posting about 1/3 of what i took! it is just all so aesthetically pleasing and vibrant and organized and there are sooooo many of these incredible buildings in the forbidden city. we passed through gate after gate and there’s just more! ^^
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^^ this boy’s parents wanted a picture of him with ian. i snapped one too :) and ^^ glenn taking a little nap … he is the sweetest man in the world: had to stay up suuuuuper late the night before because he had other tours earlier in the week and then someone hit his car so he had to figure out a bunch of things – so he was exhausted but still so very, very bright and enthusiastic and helpful and wonderful. he deserved a little shut-eye while we explored :)
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^^ these pictures just don’t do it justice – all these passageways around the perimeter of the forbidden city were just so neat! ^^
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^^ the imperial gardens! so so pretty, especially with the new spring blossoms. ^^
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^^ after we left the forbidden city, we walked up the steps to that building on the hill in the middle and took in the amazing views:
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^^ isn’t that blend of old and new so cool?! ^^
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^^ more sights from the streets of beijing after we left the forbidden city ^^

our next stop was the bell and drum towers, but on the way we asked glenn to suggest a really good chinese treat (one of our favourite things is trying the sweets in different countries). he took us to this awesome bakery type place and ordered us some deserts, some of which were favored by emperors and empresses. we tried yellow bean cake, sugar coated potato chips, sweetened rice balls, and a mystery pastry that we’re still not sure the ingredient components of. let’s just say we have different tastes in sweets than imperial chinese rulers :)

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^^ powerful drum performance inside the drum tower. fun to watch. ^^
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^^ the bell tower and the drum tower –>^ used to tell time back in the day when there was a morning bell and a dusk drum. we decided to deviate from our well-used nice picture pose for these photos! ^^

we walked back to our hostel through the hutong district – a really charming part of town made up of winding alleys.

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^^ the outside of our hostel, which was down tiny narrow alleys. it was such a cool place to stay! ^^
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^^ the inside. i absolutely adored this atrium that felt so atmospheric and lovely! ^^

we ended our day at a dumpling-making party with the staff of the hostel. there was not much common language between us, but we had such a fun time learning how to assemble and cook dumplings. they were delicious!

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incredible, amazing day one in beijing! it became that day one of my top favourite cities in the world.

4 comments :

  1. I'm so glad you love Beijing! Those photos bring back many memories. I am almost positive that your hostel is the same one my cousin stayed in when he came up from Hong Kong (where he was living) to hike the lesser known parts of the Great Wall with us. Looking forward to hearing about your Wall experience... :). Thanks for sharing so many fun experiences and beautiful photos with us!!

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  2. how is it possible that you look so perfect and gorgeous in every photo????? and to think you were traveling the world? amazing! you should model! xoxo
    ps and how did your husband not lose his sunglasses the entire trip? :)

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  3. So fun to see all this. I missed so much of it when we were in the Forbidden City. You just can't take it all it! It's incredibly intricate and massive. Gorgeous!

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  4. What sort of camera did you capture this all with? Your photos are stunning?

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