I traveled to China in November to visit some friends of mine who are living in Beijing. Two of them have been there for four years and will be leaving soon. The other two arrived a few months before my visit. I had a small window of opportunity to see them all together in the same place, so I took a few days off from work to visit them. They made my experience in China very rich and joyful.
I arrived in Beijing on a Saturday, around midday. Two of my friends picked me up from the airport and after dropping my luggage at their place, we went sightseeing. As a starting point, they chose Prosperity Hill in Jingshan Park, located North from the Forbidden City, to show me how Beijing is laid out.
Very close to Jingshan Park, you’ll find the drum and bell towers. They were once used to tell the time, and were very important during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. The towers are surrounded by hutongs – alleys formed by traditional residences. Most of them have been demolished to build new buildings, which is a pity since there is a rich history associated with them. Some that are still standing have been turned into restaurants and bars. We actually had dinner in one of them.
One of the things that I loved about Beijing was that there are many parks and spaces where you can go for a walk. I particularly enjoyed walking around Qianhai Lake.
Over the following days, I explored other corners of Beijing. More posts coming up.