Being a Tourist
It was a cold morning in 北京 Beijing, but someone had to wander around the Forbidden City. My hotel is a short walk from the northern gate and so first I got to wander through the palace gardens. It can be easy to lose oneself among all the walled walkways and small buildings.
太和殿 Taihedian (Fat Harmony Hall), the main, central throne hall. Leading up to the throne hall from the main gates to the south is this raised path. This palace must have inspired the layout of the palaces in Seoul.
天安门 Tian'anmen (Traditional 天安門, Heaven Peace Gate). It features a picture of Chairman Mao and is located directly in front of the Forbidden City. It's interesting that the Communists decided to block the view of the Imperial Palace with their memorial to Mao.
天安门广场 Tian'anmen Square (Heave Peace Gate Wide Space) is located across 长安街 Chang'an Avenue (Long Peace Road) from 天安门 Tian'anmen.
As you can see in the above picture, the sky in Beijing today was an ugly gray. Just looking across this large square you could see a slight gray hue over the buildings. It's not pretty...
Next I took the subway to see the National Stadium (or you may remember it as the "Birds Nest" from the 2008 Summer Olympics. The subway system (and the whole city) follows a very simple layout making it easy to get where you're going (unlike the complete mess that is Seoul). They have even added a short subway line just to serve the Olympic park and stadiums, which is very convient for us tourists, but useless to the city residents.
At the south end of the Olympic Green is this sign for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics in front of the "Birds Nest" National Stadium. They added a Christmas tree for Christmas.
The "Birds Nest" National Stadium behind the "Water Cube" National Aquatics Center.
After a little dinner, I headed down to the Temple of Heaven (天坛 Heaven Altar). When I got out of the subway, I could not see the entrance to the large park. I started by following the wall to the north. When I got to the big intersection I finally decided to listen to my insticts and head back to the subway station to look for the entrance. As expected, the entrance was just a few meters south of the north-facing subway exit I took...
The entrance fees were not unreasonable. Sadly, though, I arrived at the Temple of Heaven late in the afternoon, too late to be given the chance to pay a little extra to gain entry to the main, central part of the temple complex. Nonetheless, I enjoyed wandering through 天坛公园 Tiantan Park (Heaven Altar Public Garden).
I'm sorry for the lack of pictures around the amazing city, but I lost my pictures...