Hello! I am thrilled to finally be here in China. My family and I arrived at the Beijing Capital International Airport last night. I was so excited to get the tour started. We started off the morning with breakfast at the our hotel, Grand Mercure Beijing Dongcheng. The rooms are spacious and lovely.
I tried Beijing pancakes for the first time, they tasted like very thin, flat omelets. I decided to take every opportunity I had to use chopsticks, so there’s a picture of my first time eating breakfast noodles (is that a thing?) with chopsticks.
As a huge history nerd, I was very interested in the first stop of the day: Tiananmen Square. Our tour guide skipped over the details, but I remember reading about the massacre that occurred there on June 4th, 1989, in history class. We passed through the long lines to get inside the square thanks to our tour guide.
One week before arriving in China I had attended Taylor Swift's 1989 concert in Chicago and had purchased a shirt that simply said "TS 1989". My tour guide was quite relieved that I was not wearing this shirt on the tour, because he said it would have been very misleading...
After that we headed over to the Forbidden City and the Palace Museum. One thing to note about this location, guests can only enter the North gate and leave from the South gate. That is why there are long lines and huge traffic getting in and out. This location has also been the Imperial Palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is referred to as the Forbidden City because in earlier times it was forbidden for anyone to enter the palace grounds unless they had special permission from the emperor.
Next it was lunchtime! We ate a typical Chinese lunch at a local family’s house, This was a unique part of the tour. Afterwards we had a short rickshaw ride around the neighborhood.
I am really enjoying absorbing the culture and activity here in Beijing. After lunch we headed to a Tea Palace (I couldn’t catch the name the particular one we went to) and there we attended a traditional tea ceremony. I don’t drink tea, but I tasted the samples that they provided, my personal favorite was the mixed fruits one. It was sweet like juice with essentially no fat grams because it was all natural fruit flavor.
Thank you taking the time to read my blog! Please check back tomorrow to read my post about day 2: visiting the Great Wall of China & the Summer Palace!