Despite waking up early with the best of intentions (aka roommate’s alarm goes off at 6am), I’m slow to start. But I start well with dumplings at the hostel.
Get ready for a post as long as my day felt.
The rain is gone and leaves a clear sky. I take the subway to Qianmen Station. I spy this artwork and want the hat.
I thought this was a terrible photo but the double ipad is perfect.
I make my way to Tiananmen Square. Here’s the main gate called Zhengyangmen built 600 years ago but you don’t go through there. Instead you line up at the underpass entrance to easily cross the busy street.
Naturally, you have to go through security first. I’m waiting in line without order. People cutting left and right. There’s a guard who opens and closes the gate to the secruity check point. Even as the gate is almost close people will squeeze pass. One couple laughs as the rest of their group got left behind the gate.
Then it’s Mao’s Mausoleum with these patriotic statues.
I decide to rest here before walking across the hot sun (spoiler alert: minor sunburn). There’s a crowd so I squat in the shade. An older man gestures to me to sit in the empty space beside him. He even put down a sheet a newspaper. So sweet!
After resting, I thank the man and continue walking across the square to the Palace Museum. The decorations for the military parade are still here.
I take a break and buy ice tea and cucumber potato chips, which do have a cucumber taste. A lot of Chinese tourists brought their own food because they’re smart.
Now it’s time for the Palace Museum. Why do we call it the Forbidden City?
I didn’t know but you need your passort to buy a ticket. I have a photocopy tucked away as backup and was relieved that worked.
Here we go! Just like the Topkapi Palace in Istabul, there’s a lot of gates and sections. Only part of the palace is open to visitors.
Right before I walk through, a woman approaches me as I’m clearly a tourist. She invites me into a student/teacher art exhibit. While the artwork was nice, I had no intention of buying and then she tells me she a Great Wall tour. I back out at that point.
Onto the next section, Hall of Supreme Harmony.
Then I duck into the side areas that have small temples/shrines.
And that’s the palace. Whew! Ready to eat dinner and go to sleep right? Nope. Right across the street is Jingshan Park.
I drag my tired feet to the park. Up and up the half steps to the top. I grab another ice tea that’s actually cold and take in the spectacular surroundings. Somewhere below in the park is a group practicing singing, often opera. There’s a small crowd taking in the view but you can easily get a spot.
Now I can leave and find dinner. I stop at the trendy street thinking something might be there but instead end up at a dive around the corner from it. It fit the bill– food and people actually eating the food.
With a full stomach, I walk through the trendy street back to the hostel. My phone clocks in 13 miles.