I recently had the pleasure of taking a very quick mini-vacation (2 days) to the capital city of Beijing. I met my friend Donna, who lives in Wuhan, China and who also works for Disney. She flew into Beijing. I took a bullet train from Shanghai. The train ride is a quick 5 hours and is very fast and efficient. One funny little tidbit about the train, I accidentally sat in the wrong seat – in 1st class! Yes, I sat down and then I said, “wow, these trains sure are nice! I am going to travel like this more often.” Then the train stewardess comes to check seats and she says, “you are in the wrong seat.” Oops. Back to coach for me. The coach seating wasn’t that bad anyway.
me in the wrong seat happy as a lark
We were staying a really great hostel called the Sanlitun Youth Sanlitun right in the heart of a cool bar area of Beijing. Hostels are my new favorite thing. In America, we don’t have hostels. Its either a hotel or something similar, but no proper “hostels”. The rest of the world has hostels and they are great! They are usually way cheaper than hotels, they offer all kinds of coolness, like an attached bar, food, arranged tours, and very helpful concierge services. I really love hostels. This is the second time I have stayed in a hostel. The first time was my trip to Xi’an. The best place to find a hostel is www.hostelworld.com.
Sanlitun Youth Hostel
patio outside of the hostel
bar and dining area
view as you walk in
We immediately dropped our bags and took a taxi to the Forbidden City. For those of your who aren’t up on your Chinese history (and let’s face it, not many people are) the Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the center of Beijing, China. It was the grand palace for the Emperor’s of China. But now it’s called the Working People’s Cultural Palace Museum. And do you blame the Chinese? Come on. The Emperor lived like, well, a king, and most of China lived very poorly. This went on for over 500 years. Now, it belongs to the people.
Its quite a lot of walking. Its a very big place. Lots of open space and buildings. I think children might find it boring because they can’t appreciate the cultural and historical significance of it all. But while I was there, I just kept imagining what it was like when the city was full of the workers and the palace staff and the Emperor. I really enjoyed it. Plus, I made a really goofy video of me flying through the city and bought this gorgeous artwork. My students call me the Monkey King, so when I saw this, I had to have it. And the second painting is Yin and Yang. Funny story, right after I bought these art pieces, I walked out of the shop and slipped and fell down about 5 stairs right on top of the fish painting! Luckily, its a lacquer on wood piece and wasn’t damaged at all.
The Monkey King purchased inside the Forbidden City
Yin and Yang lacquer on wood, purchased inside the Forbidden City
So here is a gallery of some of the pictures we took that day inside the Forbidden City. Enjoy! Look for my next post – Tienanmen Square, the Great Wall of China and Scary-A$$ Doll Head, aka SAD. She’s Donna’s travel totem which we had a blast taking pictures with. SAD even flew through the Forbidden City in Donna’s video.
Here’s a short video clip too!