Penny and Greg's Trip to China travel blog

Boat to Summer Palace

View from the lake

Emperors marble boat

Floral art

Birds nest

Tiananmen Square

View of the explosion

Beijing in smog

The weather has turned cold and it is very smoggy. We were lucky that we went to the Wall when we did as you can't see very far now.

Yesterday we visited the Summer Palace which was the Emperors summer residence. It covers a massive area and has many beautiful buildings overlooking a lake. We took a boat across the lake and walked around for a bit finally climbing up to the top of the main building which consisted of the residence at the bottom and various temples above. Our legs certainly remembered the climb on the Great Wall the day before. The buildings are all very ornate with marble stairs and railings and beautifully decorated with murals and glazed tiles.

Our guide then took us to view the Olympic stadium of which the Chinese are very proud. It is very impressive and lots of people come to see it but I gather it isn't used for very much these days although the water cube is open to the public to swim in. The whole area used to be farmland and the farmers were all relocated to a huge apartment block nearby which was built specifically for them. We were assured by our guide that the government looked after them and helped them to find new jobs most in the hospitality and service industry.

We then had a brief look at Tiananmen Square which once again is huge. We were going to go to through the Forbidden City but it was getting late and the crowds were overwhelming so decided to head for the hotel instead and go back the next day.

We met a Canadian couple at the hotel and spent a very pleasant evening with them. They were meant to go to an acrobatic show but their pick up didn't come much to the disappointment of the wife and relief of her husband.

We headed back to the Forbidden City again today but when we were about two hundred metres away from the entrance there was a loud bang and huge explosion. The next thing there were soldiers and police everywhere and everyone (hundreds of people) was moved very quickly out of the street and then the whole area was closed down. From what we gather a car burst into flames killing the occupants, and injuring some guards and a few tourists. Ironically it turns out the Forbidden City does not even open on Monday afternoons anyway. We leave Beijing tomorrow so I guess I will have to come back another time to see the Forbidden City.

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