I last left you at the airport ready to fly to Beijing, when we got to Beijing we boarded our bus and headed to the hotel. We had some rest time and then made our way to dinner at Lost Heaven. Such a romantic restaurant, the food was so good, as was the decor but the best must have been the bathrooms – yup – not kidding only because as you wash your hands at the sink, what you think is a mirror is actually an open space into the mens bathroom – which was freaky at first – you are washing your hands and BOOM I say my hubby in the mens washroom washing his hands starring looking at me and we had a chat – crazy …. After dinner headed back to the hotel for some much needed down time and rest.
The next morning we headed to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden city. Since it was a Saturday, the crowds were huge. Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world. There is a huge portrait of Mao that hangs on the south side of the gate, gazing onto the square. Then we made our way into the Forbidden City (Imperial Palace), home to 24 emperors starting in 1420 (Yangle) – the last left (Puyi) in 1924. The palace was home for up to 10,000 people and had a moat around it to keep ordinary people out.
After walking around the Forbidden city we made our way to lunch via a Hutong ride. A Hutong is a 3 wheeled bicycle. Our ride was through narrow streets and laneways. Houses are courtyards are hidden away and closed off with gates. We had lunch at Nuage – a Vietnamese restaurant which is located between Lake Houhai and Lake Qianhai. The food was very good and the view was really nice. Before leaving the area we went to a Hutong tea house, lots of tea sampling and education about tea. We only had a little bit of time to shop in the area before meeting our bus to go back to to the hotel.
The next morning we woke up super early – 4 am to catch our plane back to Shanghai for the F1 race…. this was our side trip – once we arrived the airport , a few hours later after we landed we met our our guide at the airport and along with our driver took us to the race area. Since we couldn’t get too close driving wise we had to get out and walk … this was the 1000th F1 race – one that we couldn’t pass up since we were “in the area.” It was time for us to get to our section and seat … on the way we decided to get some lunch, when we got to our seats, we figured we should get some beer….. easier said than done ….. we saw the tent coming in and when we finally went to get some we were told SOLD OUT … Ya who runs out of beer before an event even starts …thought the danish guys were going to fight someone, they were loosing their minds … all dressed in orange suits, clearly Verstapen fans. We walked a ways down and still no beer and also no water …. so no water or beer at a racing event …. WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THIS …….the race was a sleeper again, nothing really exciting to cheer about or talk about….just cool being there and saying you were part of the 1000th race. I love going to the races but I’m finding it harder to watch and continue to go to (not that I go a lot) when there is no competition and only one team is always winning. After the race we had to meet our guide and driver to get back to catch our flight back to Beijing. The flight was delayed and we got back to the hotel around midnight. Crazy long day but well worth it. So many fellow fans were on the flight, it was kind of cool. I can officially say I have been to a race in Europe, Canada, US and Asia .. not sure where the next race will take me to….
The next morning we had a super early morning again, we were going to the Great Wall of China. After a short car ride, we arrived, it was just the 4 of us with our guide and driver. The group went the day before while we were at the race. When we arrived we lined up to get into a bus to take us up to where the cable car was to take us to a part of the wall. We opted to take the cable car but there is is hiking trail that you can take to the top of the wall. The wall was incredible, to…. the cobble stones were uneven as were the steps, you really have to watch your step. The Great Wall of China is a Unesco Heritage site, one of the greatest wonders of the world and stretches approximately 21,196 kilometers from east to west. Pinch me, that I am actually here, we had such a beautiful sunny day, the view was spectacular.
We had lunch at Brickyard, a lovely restaurant/ 20 room boutique hotel with a patio/courtyard and an amazing view of the The Great Wall.
We had a Farewell Peking Duck Dinner at Duck De Chine – another amazing dinner to wrap up our trip. The next day we boarded our flight for our flight another 12+ hour flight – 11,000 km journey.
What an amazing trip ….. has any place you have been too turned out to be surprisingly better than you thought it might be??