Touring Beijing and a Peking duck feast!

Ariel '15

Today we spent the night on an overnight train. We boarded Tuesday night from Shanghai and arrived in Beijing this morning at 9:00. While the spacing and cabin was cramped with four people in a very small space with all of our luggage, Jillian, Ethan, Peter, and I had a great time spending the night together.  

When we arrived in Beijing, we met our tour guide, Linda, and walked a while to reach our bus. Half an hour later we finally reached our bus, carrying all of our belongings and luggage, and we were already tired before the day had even begun. At around 10, we went to breakfast and then made our way over to the Temple of Heaven, which was used by the emperor to pray for good harvest in the ancient times. The temples and buildings were magnificent and had extreme detail on them that made them so spectacular. At the temple, there were also old men and women singing, dancing to music, and playing Chinese chess. It was funny to see Amina and Mrs. Jiang dance to the music with the old ladies. Here I also bought my first souvenir spoon from China to add to my spoon collection from different cities around the world. 

After the Temple of Heaven, we went to the National Museum where we got to see artwork from different Chinese dynasties and learned about how the artwork evolved over time. By the time we finished walking in the museum, almost everyone was tired so we had to take a little break before continuing on to see Tiananmen Square, which is the largest city square in the world. 

We then walked over to the Forbidden city, where we got to see the Imperial palace. Here, the emperor and empress from different dynasties lived. This included more than 9,999 rooms and more than 800 buildings. It took more than 100,000 men to build this palace and is quite astonishing. This place was one of the most impressive places I've been to. By the time we got to the gift shop about two hours later, everyone's legs were hurting and people were starting to sleep walk. As soon as Conor saw a bench, he sat down and fell asleep right away! 

We then walked our way back to the bus and went to check into our hotel. This hotel is extremely nice and looks very ancient like the Chinese buildings. We were so happy that the beds are soft. But the best part was yet to come. Dinner was amazing and we tried Beijing's famous Peking duck. Some of the Peddie students' families took us out for this meal and best of all, Jiehan was there as well! Overall today has been an amazing day and I'm looking forward to exploring the rest of Beijing!