We started the new year right with a trip to Beijing! This trip ranks high on our “places to see” list, and the experience did not disappoint. Initially, I was going to book the trip as a present for Tammer. After some thought, I decided it was a selfish gift because I wanted to go there just as much as him. I started thinking of a new gift and told Tammer my reasoning for not choosing a trip to Beijing. Without hesitation, Tammer said, “Let’s just go!” And, we did!
I have a thing for scheduling daily guided tours on vacation and making sure no leaf is left unturned, so we stayed busy! Maybe when we’re in our 70′s we’ll take a lazy vacation–we’ll probably need one by then! Naturally, our motivation for going on a vacation to Beijing was the Great Wall! We did it! We climbed the Great Wall with our three-year-old son, on New Year’s Eve! Amazing! Words and photos can’t do it justice, but its grandeur is unparalleled. We took a cable car up to the platform and began our adventure! The mountains are quite steep at some parts, but Stavros braved the elements and insisted on climbing the “big wall in the mountains”. We forgot all about the cold weather and the steep ups and downs didn’t faze us–not even Stavros, who typically loves his relaxing seat in his stroller. It was fabulous and we can now relate to why the Great Wall is so coveted.
Another place we visited was the Temple of Heaven. Beijing is so much older than Shanghai so it was nice to see so much history all around us. Next on the agenda was Tiananman Square, which regardless of its massive size and notoriety (the third largest city square in the world), mainly made us think of the man who stood in front of the long line of Chinese tanks in 1989. From Tiananman Square, we went to the Forbidden City. It was a very cold and windy day, so our most vivid memories of the Forbidden City will probably be how miserable Stavros seemed in all his layers. The poor kid could barely walk; and with his scarf, hat and hood, he could barely see. Beijing is 20-25 degrees colder than Shanghai this time of year, so we were brave to vacation there in January to begin with. While there, we also visited the Summer Palace, which we thought was quite beautiful. A perk of visiting there in the winter was seeing the frozen lake with all the ice skaters!
We love seeing shows, plays and ballets, so we booked two shows through our hotel during our stay. Stavros enjoyed seeing The Nutcracker so much, we figured he enjoy attending the shows with us. We saw the Beijing Acrobatic show, which is apparently out-done by the Shanghai Acrobatic Show, but we were quite impressed. The talent and skill by such young people was remarkable! We took a fascinating video during the show which I will post later. We also went to The Legend of Kung Fu show, which has a thought-provoking storyline and some pretty crazy kung fu! Stavros loved both of the shows! He sat at attention for the entirety of the shows and has discussed the shows for days!
We wanted to see the Beijing Olympic Park where the 2008 Olympics were held, so we added the park as a stop for one of our tours. The Water Cube now has a water park inside, so we wanted to make sure we went to the water park as well. Impressive. Across the way is Beijing National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest, where the Olympics were also held. We took some photos and allowed extra time for the other tourists to take their photos of Stavros–he’s always an attraction, even bundled up and barely visible. We’re still talking about the trip! It was better than we expected and we’re so glad we went there. Click the link to see the photos:http://share.shutterfly.com/share/received/welcome.sfly?fid=00fc385afe0b5f4a3315f89dbf2f35f7&sid=0AbuW7Rq5bt2jCWg