Today was another day filled with lots of sightseeing and learning about the wonderful country of China! To start off the day we visited Tiananmen’s Square, I wasn’t really sure how to feel about this visit because of how controversial it is in China. Not many people know about what happened there in 1989 because of the government so we had to be pretty hush hush when walking around and learning about the landmark. Following the tour at Tiananmen’s Square we went right next door to visit the Forbidden City. I was very surprised by the Forbidden City, it was much bigger than I thought but I guess I should’ve picked up on that since it is referred to as a “city”. Anyway, the structures were all very similar to each other but they were so beautiful. The detail on each and every building is absolutely insane, its hard to believe that people built these incredible structures so many years ago. There were characters written on the front of each building and one saying translated to “peaceful world” which was the main priority of the emperor at the time. While we were walking around the Forbidden City we learned the different values and meaning that each section and building represented. In fact, women were not allowed in a large section of the Forbidden city with the exception of the first lady, of course. The emperor lived in the city with over 100,000 other people, back then it was understood that the more children you have the more blessings you have. The last part of the forbidden city was my personal favorite, the Imperial Garden. Within the garden there were many intricate and unique structures along with many trees and plants. There was even a large building dedicated as a place to choose a potential concubine for the emperor, strange! When my friends and I posed in front of the building to take a picture, tons of natives started taking pictures of us too, I felt like we were famous!
Following the tour at the Forbidden city we travelled to Hutong which was a very unique part of Beijing! We got in these little carriages with a man biking on the front and he took us to a locals’ house. This house has a history of over 300 years with 3 different families. Although the house was small, it had a lot of character, not a place I would want to live in, however!
After seeing the house, we went to lunch and then if was off to the Temple of heaven! At lunch a couple people decided to eat chicken brain and I can assure you I was not one of them, apparently its very nutritious!
When we first arrived at the Temple of Heaven we were met by a Tai Chi instructor who then taught us some of the basics of his craft. Learning Tai Chi was actually super fun and it was an enjoyable way to relax and spend time in the park! It was neat to learn about the temple of heaven and some of the history behind it. It used to be known as the temple of heaven and earth although the emperor of the Ming Dynasty decided to separate them.
Today was a very exhausting day but I learned a lot! I am going to miss Beijing but I am very excited for our next adventure in Xi’an!