onsdag 18 september 2013

A week in Beijing

Before coming to Beijing I wasn’t sure that I would like it, mostly because it’s so massive and very crowded. But now after spending almost a week here I’m presently surprised and I have really been enjoying my time. There is a lot to see and do here, but I like mostly because of all the great people that I have been lucky to meet here.
I was surprised when I woke up on my morning in Beijing and the sky was clear and I could see a lot of the city from my host’s flat at the 16:th floor. Most people who I had met told me there’s always thick smog over the city making it impossible to see in the distance. But this day I was lucky with nice clear skies so I went to Jingshan Park which it on a hill with a great view of the city and especially the Forbidden City.
After that I went to Temple of Heaven. It was in the evening and so I didn’t have much time until they were closing up. But it was enough time for me to see it all and stroll around the park until sunset. And in most parks in China a lot of things happen in the evening, people are dancing, singing and playing games. There’s always something entertaining going on.
The next day I decided that I wanted to see a Giant Panda. I don’t really like the zoo that much because of the living conditions of the animals, but I went there anyway to have a look at the Panda and a couple of other animals. But in midday on a warm day the animals don’t do a lot more that sleeping.
I had made plans to meet up with another couchsurfer and have a look around the 798 Art Space. Shuyan had studied in Sweden before so it was interesting to hear about her impression of my home land. There’s a lot to see in the 798 Art Space with many galleries and exhibitions. There’s also a lot going on in the street with dancing and music playing. And it was nice sitting down for a beer in a nice bar overlooking the street and just look at everything going on.
Later that night after a great dinner and a movie at the cinema we realized that the subway had stopped running for the night. But I got to sleep at her couch since I was far away at the other side of the city. And since she had been in Sweden she had a jar of lingon sylt that tasted great with the morning porridge.     
On my way back to my host’s place I stopped by the Lama Temple. It was really nice to walk around the temple because people weren't rushing around and I liked the atmosphere with the quiet place and Buddhist’s burning incense and praying. The Buddha statues got bigger and bigger further in and the last and biggest Buddha was 26 meters tall and carved from a single piece of White Sandalwood.
Maybe the biggest attraction in China is to see the Great Wall, so on Tuesday morning me and Hunter got up early in the morning and got on a bus up into the mountains to see the wall. It is a place you have heard and read so much about so it was a cool feeling to be walking around on the wall. And it’s not easy walking, I could really feel it in my legs the day after. We went to a very famous part of the wall so at some places there too much people. But at other part there weren’t so much people and that was much more enjoyable and I could take in the beauty and the massive structure of the Wall. We didn’t have much strength to do much more that day and had a nice dinner together with some of Hunters friends.
Yesterday I still hadn’t been to the Forbidden City. I knew it was going to be the most crowded sight here in Beijing but I still wanted to see it. Today the smog was back and the view from Tiananmen Square was really gray. Once inside of the Forbidden City there where people everywhere, especially the main middle path going north. But there were less people at the edge of the city and that was nicer to walk around and explore.
But I was really tired after a couple of hours and wanted to get away from the crowd. I met up with another girl from couchsurfing and we had a look around the Hotung neighborhood with old building witch is a nice break from the modern high pace Beijing. And the last place I went to for some sightseeing was to the Olympic area. The bird’s nest was really impressing especially in the evening when it got dark and they lit up the stadium on a red color.

Today I’m just taking it slow, getting everything ready and trying to decide what route to take south. My time here in Beijing has been awesome but I ‘m also looking forward to getting back on the bike. Maybe not the first part out of the city with its crazy traffic. But it’s been a while since I cycled and from here to Hong Kong I can’t take that many breaks since I need to get there before my visa expires.

More photos from my time in Beijing: http://thebikeadventure.com/Photos/

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