We said goodbye to Wujiang and Mr. Tang on Wednesday and flew from Shanghai to Beijing. We were taken to our hotel (a beautiful full service Holiday Inn) and ate a DELICIOUS dinner. We were pretty exhausted after travel and we had a big day ahead of us.
We went to the Imperial Palace, the Forbidden City. It was huge! It kept going and going. We had done some reading about it, and had watched some movies about emperors that lived there, so it was really interesting to see.
Inside one of the courtyards:
These are the back doors to one of the throne rooms:
Then we went to the Olympic Village. I watched every single second of the Olympics that I could, and at that time we had NO idea we would actually be going there to see these areas. It was almost magical. We got to go inside and see the "Birds Nest". I never imagined I would stand inside it and look around. I have to admit I almost got choked up.
Inside, they had on display all of the different costumes from the Opening Ceremonies. Danny made fun of me because I had to photograph them all, but I was so excited about seeing them. I will soon make a slide show so you can all see them too.
Then of course, the WATER CUBE. This wasn't open, but it was cool to see. Both of these structures are very close to each other. Then we went down the LONG Olympic walkway, saw the Gymnastics and Basketball venues, the Olympic village, and so much else. It reminded me of being in the middle of the 2002 Winter Olympics in SLC. So much excitement, even though the games are over.
After that, we drove to the Summer Palace, where the Empress would spend her summers. I think it would be better during the summer, you can see I am feeling a bit chilly! As the sun was going down, it was cold. Again, so many buildings, each for a separate purpose. A lot of it hundreds of years old.
There was a large lake on the property, and we walked all the way around it. The taxi driver told our guide, a very nice graduate student that took us around all day, to enter in the west gate and exit the east gate...however, the east gate was a few miles...past all of the different palace buildings, and around the garden and lake, and out the back gate...however, it was now 5:30 PM, and there was not a single taxi to be found. Our friend (we can't remember his name) was so flustered, and we walked along this rural road until we finally found a bus that was going towards a busier area!
Luckily we found our way to the restaurant where Dr. Xiue and his wife were waiting for us at a nice chinese restaurant. They did a good job of ordering some good chinese food for us to share. Now it is late, and we have another busy day tomorrow before we head home.