I began in Beijing, it was only fitting to end there.
China has wonders to behold and one is the high speed railway, considered to be one of the fastest around. The other wonders spread far and wide, from mountains that bend the imagination to sacred temples where only whispers are heard, but the biggest seat of China is Beijing.
Visiting Beijing comes with myth and legend. Emperors have risen and tumbled, the communist party made it the center of policy and culture, which continues to thrive to this day.
Leaving after a long period somewhere is always tough, but as the train shot away from Wuxi towards Beijing and the speed picked up to 310 km/h, I felt airy. A sensation that surprised me. I detected no traces of sadness, but only relief.
A new adventure was upon me and the sameness of where I just came from evaporated. I slipped into a pair of familiar, safe shoes.
To be blind to what was ahead, to stop looking backwards — there’s nothing like it is there? That swell of discovery.
I arrived in Beijing a cool 7 hours later and though it was the dark of night, I checked into my hotel which was a few blocks from Tiananmen Square and hit the pavement quickly, walking the streets with vigour.
I became an uncaged animal tasting freedom for the first time, but hadn’t realized that the chains of Wuxi were so tight, so suffocating. It was right to leave.
Below are a collection of photos from my short time in Beijing.
High Speed Train Journey to Beijing
Qianmen at Night
Daily Scenes of Beijing
A typical hutong.
Pretty, entrancing door. I am obsessed with doors.
Roof details caught at one of the hutong’s.
People’s Heroes monument.
They reel the flag down at night and ride it high every morning. A student of mine told me Tiananmen Square is the largest of it’s kind in the world.
I decided to forgo Forbidden City and just caught the backside instead.
Wangfujing Snack Street
The staggering amount of food had my head spinning and stomach shrinking from trying so much of it.
The starfish were inert, but the scorpions were alive and wriggling! Would you ever eat one?
I settled for barbecue squid — smoky and chewy at the same time.
Summer Palace (Best for Last)
Suzhou Street was tacky and poorly done, but still had some lovely buildings. Though if I were you, I’d skip it.
The Four Great Regions is a series of classical Tibetan Buddhist buildings and considered the biggest in Beijing.
An example of beauty and grace.
The Summer Palace is deceiving, some people assume it’s only a single building, when actually it’s an entire property with a man-made lake and several architectural sights that are otherworldly, even majestic.
Tower of Buddha Incense in the background.
The vastness of Kunming Lake.
Wenchang Tower was first erected in 1750 and rebuilt under Emperor Guanxu after English and French forces set it ablaze in 1860. Inside the pavilion are a bronze statue of the god, Wenchang, and statues of two followers, the bronze steed, and the celestial boy.
The Garden of Virtue and Harmony was a complex much enjoyed by Empress Dowager Cixi. She adored operas and had many top performers staging elaborate operas here, but it was locked by the time I got there! Sadly, I only got some of the exterior.
Hall of Benevolence and Longevity was used by Emperor Guanxu and Empress Dowager Cixi to conduct court affairs or welcome official court visitors. A stunning example of Chinese architecture from the past.
A final look at this grand city was the perfect ending to my Chinese tale.