The travel diaries: China - days 1 and 2
I finally got around to pick and edit the photos from my summer trip: ONE MONTH IN CHINA!!! If you know me or have been following the blog (or IG/FB/twitter), you'll know by now that I have a huge love for all things Asian, mainly chinese.
One month travelling means I came back with thousands of photographs (I went to 8 different cities), so be prepared for longer posts!
Days 1 and 2
I arrived in Beijing on July 31st and ready for my biggest adventure yet. It was a warm yet cloudy day, good for a visit to the Temple of Heaven. Like many other monuments in Beijing, it has a surrounding park, with pavilions and shaded corridors for everyone to relax and enjoy food or a nice game of mahjong.
The Temple itself was magnificent, the blue and green of the roofs contrasting perfectly with the typical chinese red and gold.
Dinner that day was with some friends but I was just to shy to take pictures. It was delicious, I can guarantee.
Visiting the Yonghegong Llama Temple allowed me to see that gold statue: absolutely huge, imponent. I had to tilt my head all the way back to see it and barely managed to snap a decent photograph (I was later told you're not supposed to photograph the Buddha, but oh well). The temple opened in the 17th century and is still functioning as a place of worship. Like all tourist sights in China, it was overflowing with chinese visitors, pushing their way to the front to get that one photograph of their child that looks all the other 3746291 pictures they took 50m behind you.
Next to the Yonghegong there's an alley (as seen above) that leads to the Confucious Temple and the Imperial College. Peaceful, with a few pagodas and ponds, it was a completely different sight: there were less tourists visiting, people weren't rushing with selfie sticks in the air and you can stroll calmly around both buildings and enjoy the scenery. The alley itself is worth paying attention to: chinese people tend to live out most of their day outside their houses, on the street, chatting with neighbours and watching as other people pass by (this is specially true if you walk around hutongs in Beijing).
To end the day, I went to Ditan Park ( 地坛公园) or Earth Temple Park. It's located on the other side of the Llama Temple, which means you have to cross the road a few times. This is a tricky situation, that requires skill from the walker because no chinese driver will ever let you cross, even if it's your turn. And even if they do, you'll still need to be really careful with the electric scooters, since they ride on streets, sidewalks and even use crosswalks among pedestrians if it's quicker.
The park was beautiful and very well kept, clean. Unfortunately, some of its structures were under renovation. (All parks in Beijing require an entree fee but it's really cheap).
I got there before sunset and the light was just beautiful!
Guess what I had for dinner that day?
That's right, Peking Duck at a very fancy place. Fancy also means expensive, but it was a really nice meal and I am so grateful to have wonderful friends to show me the best places to eat!
After my experience, and considering the ritual and steps that go into making, serving and eating the dish, I reccomend going to a fancier place once, just to see how ceremonial it is!
It was absolutely divine, my mouth still waters just thinking about it!
I'll leave you with this small sample of my first days and the promise that more pictures are heading this way!