The Imperial Palace

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. 

South of the station is “shopping street” which has a clean main street vibe with Starbucks and a trolley. 


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. 

here’s the line with Zhengyangmen gate in the background

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. 


Monument to the People’s Heros with National Museum of China in the background
closer look
It’s larger area then I thought and I make my way through the crowd, 99% Chinese. There’s trucks selling drinks and snacks. 


so bright I can barely open my eyes
You can’t get close to this area. Not sure if that’s how it always is or if it’s blocked off from the parade. So that’s Tiananmen Square. 

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? 

the main entrance, Meridian Gate

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. 


view of the Gate of Supreme Harmony
behind me, Inner Golden Water Bridges
gates on the sides lead to other areas, ceramics are that way
this lion represents the emperor

detail of the ceiling
Onto the next section, Hall of Supreme Harmony. 


panorama of the area
Crowd around the one doorway to see the interior of a dark room. 


I love these details

Onto the next section, Gate of Heavenly Purity. 

snack time

Then I duck into the side areas that have small temples/shrines. 

The last section is The Imperial Garden. There’s several very old trees that have the look of petrified wood. It’s hard to photograph how nice and relaxing it is. 


The Exit. I took a bunch of photos before realizing I had chocolate on my face for the past hour

And that’s the palace. Whew! Ready to eat dinner and go to sleep right? Nope. Right across the street is Jingshan Park. 

 I rest a while at the exit with other tourists. The timing is perfect for photos as the sun was beginning to set and it is right there. No better time to go but now. 

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. 


there’s a gold buddha inside but you can’t take photos

thank you military parade for making these amazing views possible

Views on the other side:   
After taking a hundred photos, I wait for the sun to set. It wasn’t particularly pretty as all the colors were hidden behind the clouds but I can’t believe I’m here! 


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. 


poll results: plant pins are in
awesome cotton candy
animal shape candy
this guy makes a figure of you
creepy cat statues with live cats



Add yours →

  1. The building are beautiful. Now I know where the art in Mulan came from 🙂 or at least have an idea.


  2. ohhhhhhh sunset photos forever. Also, I have never wanted cotton candy as much as I want that. I have a feeling, I would lose all of my money in the streets of China because between that, the animal shape candy and MINI ME’S I would be down money. The cat masks can stay there though.


  3. Awesome, I wasn’t the first one to think “MULAN” when I saw your photos! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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