Images of China – Beijing 1

We traveled to China in the spring of 2007.  It was an especially great time to visit Beijing.  Everything was being spiffed up in preparation for hosting the Olympics the next summer.  So, in honor of this summer’s Olympics, I bring you our trip to China.

We began in Beijing.

Beijing 001-02 CWC Stitch

From our hotel we had a great view of the modern city and an old hutong neighborhood.  Beijing is known for its smog but we saw blue skies for the first few days!

We explored several areas of the city before our Elderhostel tour began.  (Elderhostel is now called Road Scholar)  We usually do our own thing when we travel but for China we felt a tour was the best way to see as much as we could in a limited amount of time and have guides to teach us about what we were seeing.    

The best way to get to know a city is to walk it so we did.

The Liulichang is a traditional shopping district of Beijing.

Beijing 009 C Liulichang District Beijing 007 C Caligraphy Brushes

Beijing 010 C Caligraphy Brushes Beijing 011 C Liulichang District

Here are a few shots taken in the hutong neighborhood near our hotel.  We’ll visit another one later.

Beijing 014 C Hutong Market Beijing 015 C Hutong Market 

Beijing 046 C Hutong Pedicabs Beijing 047 C Mahjongg Players 

The Front Gate, Zhengyangmen, was built in 1439 to guard the entry into the imperial city.  Nearby is the massive Arrow Tower with its rows of many windows for shooting arrows at intruders.

Beijing 026 C Front Gate (2)

Beijing 022 C Front Gate - North Beijing 024 C Arrow Tower

Beijing 020 C Front Gate

Beijing 017 C Front Gate - Arrow Tower  Beijing 019 C2 Front Gate

We happened onto this lovely small park, hidden just off a busy street.

Beijing 033 C Little Park

Beijing 032 C

Beijing 038 C

Years ago bicycles ruled the roads.  Now the traffic is mostly cars.  Many people can’t afford cars and still ride bikes.  We were told that sometimes the traffic is so bad a bike will get you where you’re going much faster.

Beijing 281 C Traffic Beijing 428 C2

Pedestrians take their life in their hands in Beijing.  Drivers have the right of way.  We found it was safest to cross streets with a crowd.  (Imagine you are a zebra; the lion can’t pick you out if you stay with the herd!)

Beijing, like other capital cities, has wide boulevards and big public spaces.  Tiananmen Square is one of the largest squares in the world.  Pictures do not do it justice.   It is HUGE!  109 acres!  At one end of the square is the Gate of Heavenly Peace, entrance to the Forbidden City.  At the other end is the Mao Zedong Mausoleum.

Beijing 285 -88 WCC Tiananmen Sq Stitch Stitch (2)

Beijing 141 C Tiananmen Sq

Beijing 292 C1 Mao Mausoleum Beijing 289 C

It was amazing to stand in this space, Beijing’s living room, and remember the pictures we saw in the news of tanks and protesters 20 years earlier. Our young guide knew of this event but it was not part of the history taught in school. She was reluctant to talk about it. It is a defining moment outside of China more than inside.

Beijing 294 C Tiananmen Sq Beijing 288 C2

Beijing 029 C Olympic Cap

With the Gate of Heavenly Peace in the background, Will shows off a souvenir – a Beijing Olympics’ cap.  This picture was taken on our first day when the skies were blue!

We were surprised at how much English is spoken.  All school children study English beginning in 3rd grade.  Many people under 30 speak a little English, especially anyone in the tourist industry and anyone trying to sell us something.  The people were anxious to practice their English with us.  If we paused with a map in hand someone would soon approach and offer help.

I hope you enjoyed this first view of Beijing. 

It’s just the beginning!             Beijing 293 C2

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About graciamc

Gracia's Travels is a photo blog. I always take too many pictures on trips so I justify my compulsion with this blog! The blog is mostly photos - they tell the best part of the story. Please contact me if you would like to use any of my photos.
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4 Responses to Images of China – Beijing 1

  1. Lu says:

    Wow! Blue skies!!

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