China is known for its grand historic landmarks. When China wanted to build something big, they built it big. The cities are big. The walls are big. Even the residences are big, at least if you’re the Emperor. Most rulers get palace, they are nice, they are expensive, they are ornate, but few get their own little city.
The Forbidden City lived up to its name. Despite spending two hours there, we barely scratched the surface of what this remarkable sight had to offer. Even walking across one of the many courtyards was physically exhausting; the expanse was awesome (in the biblical sense).
The tour was only enhanced by our tour guide, Joe, who told us stories and background spanning centuries of Chinese Dynastic history regarding the locale, the emperors and their courts. I know that lions that decorate the palace and placed outside residences, stores, and so forth of citizens are deliberately ordered. If you face the direction the lions are, the one on the right is always female and the one on the left is always male.
Even though there was less walking, the destination following did not disappoint. The Temple of Heaven was meticulously designed, everything from the buildings to the flowers the lined the area. It was a less frantic tour than the Forbidden City since there were less people. It was very serine.
We got to take advantage of this serenity through Tai Qi, allowing us to unwind and relax before our long day tomorrow.