Saturday, February 13, 2016
The Forbidden City
Monte and Alex are easing aching muscles in the pool, and I am resting in our room after clocking nearly 10 miles on foot exploring some of Beijing's cultural treasures today. We had a fantastic guide who had been recommended by a friend, and his experience with "off the beaten track" tourism made the day especially delightful. Although we occasionally braved the selfie-stick bearing hordes, we kept mostly to the fringes of the Forbidden City, enjoying the ancient architecture and our guide's historical anecdotes. We stopped part way through the day to share in a Chinese tea ceremony, and not only was it a refreshing break and cultural experience, it was a chance to warm up. Today's high was 36 F, and a "Siberian wind" (our guide's explanation) clipped along at about 15-20 mph. The Heavenly Palace was our afternoon excursion, and we wandered beneath lantern-decked trees and along icy moats. Afterwards, seated in a small shop without a word of English on the menu, we nibbled steaming dumplings dipped in vinegar. Thanks to our guide's patient instructions, our subway ride home was successful, and we are hoping that the photos below give a taste of our adventures.