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.Beijing - China part 4.



The photos above are from the Summer Palace.

The last photos from our China vacation, this time from Beijing, where we spent three days. We visited the Summer Palace on the same day as the Great Wall, and on the next day we went to the Forbidden City. If you only have  time to choose one, we recommend the Summer Palace. It was much more beautiful and better restored than the Forbidden City and the surrounding lake and parks were nice too. The Forbidden City was packed with tourists, so you had to literally push and use your elbows if you wanted to see anything. After seeing the Summer Palace first, the Forbidden City didn't really have anything new to offer: the architecture and the painting style was really similar. 




The photos above are from the Summer Palace.

What I liked most were the beautifully painted ceilings in every house in both places, although many of them were in bad condition. It was interesting to see how the Chinese emperors lived back in the day: the palaces and areas around them were huge, so don't expect to check them out in an hour or so. Just to get into the museum section of the Forbidden City you have to walk through two courtyards the size of a small town's market place. And after that you see two more courtyards of the same size. The park surrounding the Summer Palace is so vast that it would probably take a whole day to walk around it.

A beautifully painted detail of a ceiling in the Forbidden City.



The photos above are from the Forbidden City.

We didn't really like Beijing in comparison to Shanghai. It was messy, noisy and quite chaotic. Be prepared to get pushed around by millions of Chinese people, sit for a long time in traffic jams, get suspicious looks from the army officials carrying AK-47rifles and standing guard everywhere and have your bags x-rayed in airport-like controls almost everywhere you want to go. On our first day the smog was so horrible that you could barely see from one side of the Tiananmen Square to the other, so we spent most of the day in air-conditioned shopping malls. And as with all of China, be prepared no one speaks English. 




The photos above are from the Forbidden City.

Shanghai is super modern with clean streets and skyscrapers, it's almost like any western metropolis except that all the signs are in Chinese symbols. We had excepted Beijing to be more traditionally Chinese but sadly noticed that apart from the few symbolic sites such as the Forbidden City and some temples all the traditional housing had been demolished to make room for shopping malls and hotels.

Tiananmen Square.

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