In Beijing we spent our days by visting the main sights and strolling around for the rest of the time. We like this city and could imagine to work for some time here, but first we would learn mandarin. Here some impressions of the main sights, unfortunately a lot of them are under renovation because of the Olympic Games 2008.
Marbleboat at the Summer Palace
also Forbidden City
and again Forbidden City
at the Temple of Heaven
Park at the Temple of Heaven
Something you have to see to be able to believe: „the Nightmarket“ in the streets of Beijing, there you will see why in the streets of Beijing you can’t find cats, dogs and no insects anymore. It’s all on sticks prepared for the grill/barbecue. They eat everthing, snakes, skorpions, embryos of whatever, seastars and so on…
the scorpions are still moving, they aren’t dead yet!
One day we rented bikes and it’s one of the best way to get around in Beijing, you’re faster than by feet, cheaper than by taxi and you don’t have to struggle for the right bus and than inside for enough place to stay.
There are bikelanes nearly everywhere and they are as big as the lanes for cars in Switzerland. If you have to stop at a crossroad it’s so impressive to have more than 30 other bikers around you which all in a sudden, when the lights turning green, are fighting with you for the best and fastes way out of the crowd. By riding a bike you can also more easily discover what they are all transporting in their big louds.
From chairs and tables over garbage/recycling goods , big full gas bottles (with this heavy loud only fixed on one side of the bike they have to ride the bike in a diagonal position to be sure not to loose the balance), fishes swimming in waterfilled plasticbags hanging on each side of the bike…
Anonther funny thing was to try to find some silk pijamas in Beijing’s silkmarket. There is a big building filled with little shops inside with all kind of faked trademark stuff, silk products,…
In every store there are in minimum 3 girls who want to sell their stuff to the „stupid“ tourists. And they have a lot of different sell strategies. One girls just lowered the price three times during we rushed through in front of her shop, but then we turned and at the end she finally sold us the product for the price she just offered 2 minutes before after a big discussion and manz excuses (the price was for a baby T-Shirt, she will loose money,…). Another girl throw a scarves outside of the shop that I had to crab it because i didn’t want to let it fall on the floor. When I wanted to throw it back to her she was hiding behind the shelf so I had to go into the shop to throw it back, but then I was fast enough to throw it back to her and jumped out of the shop and we were both laughing.
Of course one day we spent at the Great wall. And we didn’t wanted just to have a look at it. We wanted to experience the wall. So we decided to walk from one sightseeing point of the wall to the other, all on the top of the wall. We were really lucky with the weather, although it was extremely hot, but for the view it was just excellent. It’s also worth to do it because at the sight seeing points the wall is all new built and the steps are perfect, but in between the wall in some parts was in really bad condition and sometimes you had to search for your way up or down and as well there aren’t that much of tourists during the walk. But after this 3 hours of steps up and down, sometimes so steep, that you could nearly kiss the second step in front of you or you had to take as well your hands to climb up we were extremlz tired. But it was a trip we would not miss and reccomend it to everzbody else who like to experience the Great wall.
After this 8 days in Beijing with our first impression of China we headed on to Xi’an to see the famous Terracotty warriors, which were found in 1974 but were built more than 2000 years ago. Xi’an itself has two towers and two pagodas to visit but outside of that, we did’t like the city itself that much.
Little Goose Pagoda
Probably one of the reason was also, that the time we spent there did’t start very good. Instead of walking 1 our with the whole luggage like in Beijing we topped it even and walk with more than 30 degrees for two hours around to find our accomodation! Completely wet we arrived in the hotel. But walking and searching wasn’t over for this day. We tried to buy train tickets for Chengdu and spent another half day by walking trough the city from one spot to the other to recognize that the tourist information is not anymore there were it should be, the ticketoffice for foreigners don’t exist anymore and the bank where they is as well a counter to buy tickets is closed because it was saturday… Probably you can imagine how we felt after this day 🙁
For the next day we went the second time to the trainstation to find the bus for the terracotty warriors. A very smart busdriver showed us the panel 306, exactly the busnumber we were looking for. We went on the bus and as we asked when it will leave he just started the engine and left the station with only 3 people. But then he curved around in Xi’an to pick up others until the bus was full. Naturally we were the only not Chinese in the bus and where once again an attraction for them. At one station we finally remarked, that we didn’t catch the official bus, because the official one was already standing at a busstation and our bus just went in front of it, the conductor ran out and stole every single passenger from the official bus and leaded him\her into our bus. At the end there were standing 2 of this inofficial buses standing on the street in front of the official bus and fighted for other passengers. What a theater….
We stopped first at some place where an emperor of the Tang Dynasty built up some bathing pools at a warm water source but because of the dusty weather we didn’t spend a lot of time there and for the next distance we even found an official bus.
at Huaquing Pool
The terracotty warriors where really impressive. Unfortunately after the Qing dynasty lost there power the new emperor burnt and destroyed the whole area and at the moment they are still working on restoring the destroyed pieces together and building up the whole terracotty army again in its old dimensions. It’s huge!
renovated relict of the terracotty army
The next day we organised our journey to Chengdu in order to collect there more informations about the rumours we heard, that the way to Tibet should be closed for foreigners at the moment.