I don't want to overwhelm the blog with photos from the China trip so I will just post a few from each of places we visited beginning with the highlights of Beijing.
After a very long flight from Paris, we arrived in Beijing in the afternoon but had quite a long delay at the airport. I mentioned before I was feeling very unwell so going from the airport straight to the Summer Palace was, and is, a bit of a blur!
Unfortunately the delays meant that we changed the itinerary (only one day of the trip went to plan!) and visited the Summer Palace first before it closed and Tiananmen Square afterwards and therefore we had only a short while to look around once we had lunch. There was no time to go to the Seventeen Arch Bridge as I had hoped but we saw it across Kunming Lake.
One of the only good photos and I had to be in it, looking like death warmed up and desperate to get to my hotel room and collapse into bed!
The Marble Boat. The photos don't show just how crowded this place, and indeed every place, was - the country seems fit to bursting with people! Many of the tourists are Chinese and I found their different facial characteristics fascinating.
Something I found a little disappointing seeing these famous buildings close up is how common those tiles are. As we approached the Summer Palace I could see the tiling along the walls and it was exciting but across the street from the entrance I noticed even the little touristy shops had this same tiling. Roofs of many of the temples are in the process of repair so I guess these tiles are mass produced now. A few days later I took this photo of the structure above the toll booths on the way to the Great Wall.
From the Summer Palace we went straight to Tiananmen Square where the street sellers hassled us all along the street. I could swear one of them was selling something - a little booklet or postcard? - about 'the massacre'! I couldn't get over the size of the place and how different it looked compared to the photos and footage I'd seen of it. This is the Great Hall of the People, above.
During the day I noticed all the roofs have quite ugly wiring along the edges but at night they light up and look wonderful.
The Monument to the People's Heroes. At closing time police cars drove around the square with flashing lights and horns to get the crowds to disperse and go home.
The following day, a visit to the Lama or Yonghe Temple. We went from here to the Great Wall.
The last day in Beijing and a visit to the Temple of Heaven which I had been looking forward to - shame about that dull weather, it didn't look it's best!
A closer look at the detail.
On the same night we visited the night market we also managed a look around some of Beijing's more modern shopping malls. They were a mixture of shops. The best were strategically placed on the ground floor so it looked impressive at first glance but a look around upstairs and some of the names - and the merchandise! - were distinctly odd! Some of the department stores were so old fashioned it was like going back in time! We did come across one very expensive mall, which must have had every designer brand you could think of but it went on and on and on until one of the men of the family (who shall remain anonymous!) rebelled and refused to walk any further! I think it was the biggest mall I'd ever been in. I feigned disappointment but my feet were on fire and I couldn't have gone on for much longer anyway!