Monday, February 6, 2017

Back to Beijing

So there was one full day in Beijing that I never got around to blogging about, so here it is!

On Saturday, January 14, we hired a guide name Angela to take us around for the day. We started by driving to the MuTianYu section of the Great Wall. This section is known for not being crowded, and because it was pretty cold outside, I think it was especially empty. We basically had the place to ourselves, which was awesome. The only bummer was that the lift to the section with the toboggan ride down was being repaired, so we couldn't do that.

We walked around for awhile, climbing the towers, taking pictures, and enjoying the views. It was a beautiful place, surrounded by mountains. I think it would be even more gorgeous in the summer, when everything would be green. We could have spent all day there, but we had lots more to do, so after a couple of hours, we headed out.

This is about 1/3 of the dishes that eventually came out!
Next was lunch. Angela took us to a place that had Peking duck, along with tons of other dishes. She ordered more food than we could ever have finished, but we tried! It was a traditional round table with a big Lazy Susan in the middle, so we could rotate the dishes around and try a little bit of everything. So many yummy things...sweet and sour pork, noodles, rice, spicy beef, etc.! Jonas ate about twenty dumplings (no joke), and the rest of us stuffed ourselves silly.

After lunch, we had a rickshaw tour of a hutong (neighborhood). It was fun flying through the little alleyways and past a popular area with restaurants and a lake with ice skating. We got to stop and see a typical courtyard. It's basically four houses that belong to one family and share a central area. It was interesting to hear the thought and symbolism that goes into how things are arranged, from the feng shui setup of everything to which family member is designated to live in which house (parents in the North one for example) to the meaning of the symbols on the stones out front that show what kind of trade the people do (banking, farming, etc.). Anyway, the ride was really relaxing, and I wish it had lasted a lot longer.

Before dinner, we headed to Wangfujing Snack Street to um, build up our appetites?! There were many delicacies to admire! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves on this one...

Scorpions make great snacks!
Um, these are baby pigeons.
Afterward, we had dinner at another restaurant where Angela ordered a million delicious dishes and we pigged out. I really think the best food we had in China was on this day, probably because we got to try so many different things, but there was nothing too wacky or weird for our tastes! It was time to head back to our hotel after dinner, but it was surely a full day of fun to end our touristy time in Beijing!

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