Schonbrunn Hotel Beijing
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With St. John Barter-Waters
Today we started with breakfast at the hotels restaurant I had fried eggs with many different Chinese foods including pork buns
We then set off through the twisting, crowded, cramped and labyrinthine alleys of Beijing to find our way to the forbidden city. We arrived at the west gate ...
... and the car park was as good as empty, Ping suggested we take the cable car up and go left along the wall as much as we like and the return back down via the cable car. He would wait by his taxi until we got back, we could take as long as we wanted.
We were among the first people on the wall, we only saw one person in front of us, but he was striding along and soon there was nobody at all except the occasional local selling tourist stuff. We walked from the ...
... couldn’t figure out what. I still can’t. It’s indescribable; the sheer overwhelming size and scale of the place are beyond me to capture on a page. The most memorable part of the visit for me was the things you can’t actually see – five hundred years and countless lives spent building, maintaining, and expanding the palace itself. The power base implied, especially in a preindustrial era, is sobering.
... photo's how smoggy it is (that is not the camera quality!).
On day 4 we rented some bikes and together with a guide we took of to explore the Hutongs.The oldest part of town with very narrow streets and little court yards and LOTS of people. Fantastic! Apart from the scenery, the actual biking was an experience! Our guide explained the road rules;" there are hardly any! Just use your bell." I had one hand on my brake and one hand on my bell ...
After our fervent outburst against this injustice, we reluctantly yielded to pay the fee and hastily exited the embassy to return to the bank. After a succession of ordeals involving withdrawal of an adequate amount of cash, an extended wait in line and the final obscenity of having to pay a bank fee we eventually trudged back to the embassy and were once again let into the visa processing room where we resentfully handed over the bank receipt. The ...