I was totally unprepared for the mass of people even though I had been to Beijing before.
So I started by travelling around on buses with a guide. I got much better at pushing on to the bus as the day went on and even at one stage manage to grab a seat. On one bus I must have looked old and frazzled because one young woman actually gave me a seat. All tickets were 1 yuan
So first a visit to the Forbidden City which is not at all what I expected as it is a palace with numbers of courtyards, buildings and a garden. This my guide Tina was very impressed by. I, being used to Australia, saw only small unkempt beds, a few trees and paved paths but some lovely peony roses in flower. I then wondered about the ‘beautiful garden’ the Emperor could enjoy. For me it was so small.
As I had previously visited Tiennamen Square, which I had found an unpleasant experience I resisted Tina ‘s entreaty to visit again. Lunch was at Beijing snacks, where Tina had soup made from internal organs and I opted for a much less adventurous fare. The soup had an extremely strong taste.
Then in need of a cup of tea and a sit down we went into a small tea house where a most helpful young women spent an hour telling us about tea, tasting various types of tea and telling us about her life. Tina did the translating.
The next morning a visit to the Summer Palace this time on the subway, crowded but by now I was getting better at pushing and grabbing one of the few seats. One small boy found my presence so unusual he laughed all whole trip every time he looked at me.
I really enjoyed the Summer Palace which has many buildings, a large lake where locals were in pedal boats.
Photograph of the Last Empress
For me the highlight was the photographic exhibition on the changing life of the Summer Palace with a photo of the Empress Dowager, the last Empress and also of the concubine she had drowned in a well.
We met up as a group for the first time, 6 woman and 1 intrepid man.
Tour group in a tea house in the Huong area of Beijing.
Pictures will be added when I do not have to sit on the stairs with a hit and miss connection. I am in Uzbekistan and must be up at 2.30 am to get to Tashkent in time for Iranian Embassy to open to get a visa for Iran as it was not possible for me to get one before I left Australia.