• Cruisinbob

Beijing- Mao, the Wall and much more

For years I have wanted to experience walking through Tiananmen Square and on the Great Wall of China. Following a 12 night cruise aboard the Ovation (RCL cruise ship), this quest came to life. Disembarking the cruise ship at the port of Tianjin, a city about 60 miles south of Beijing, my journey began. Prior to my arrival, I had coordinated my Beijing trip with China Highlights (http://www.chinahighlights.com/) a travel agency I highly recommend! I did not want to engage in the standard tourist menu stops but wanted to touch on the highlights and get the feel of the city. Accompanying me were 6 terrific people + my wife. At the port exit, I met our guide, the amazing William, and off we went. With no time to waste, we headed directly to the Temple of Heaven located south of Central Beijing. The Temple is a complex of buildings where the emperors visited for annual ceremonies to pray for good harvests. The Temple grounds are vast, and the buildings were in great shape.



After a very delicious lunch at a local establishment, in the late afternoon we ventured to a Chinese acrobat show. WOW!! What a show with a local acrobatic troupe, plus a very cultural pre-show auction in Chinese, and an unbelievable motorcycle act in a metal sphere.

After a very delicious lunch at a local establishment, in the late afternoon we ventured to a Chinese acrobat show. WOW!! What a show with a local acrobatic troupe, plus a very cultural pre-show auction in Chinese, and an unbelievable motorcycle act in a metal sphere.




Day #2; Started with a walk through Tiananmen Square. Due to our amazing guide, William, we avoided all the lines and soon were walking the massive square. I had wanted to visit Mao’s tomb; however, the tomb was closed for renovation (guess they were fixing the body!). I walked across the People’s Bridge and waved to Mao


(a huge hanging picture) and then walked into the city within a city (also called The Forbidden City). This massive complex is the largest and best preserved ancient imperial architectural complex in the world; plan to have your best walking shoes on as this complex is an endless maze of building after building and then more buildings. The Chinese government is calling this complex the Palace Museum, but it is still the Forbidden City to every visitor. Another tasty lunch followed our long walk, and then it was off to the Summer Palace – another complex of buildings made famous by the infamous Lady Dragon Empress





Not to let a moment slip away, my wife and I ventured away attending an interesting and delightful Kung Fu show at yet another local theater – put that on your ‘must’ list!

Day #3 Traveling an hour and half north of Beijing, we arrived at the highlight of my trip – the Great Wall! We were at the Mutianyu section/location, which is quiet well preserved. Our amazing guide had us ride the chairlifts up to the wall to minimize some of the steep walking and to add some fun to the adventure. Once at the Wall, I was in awe of its massive size and endless rolling length. (Note: walking on the Wall is not flat – it is quite steep and very rolling). The one section I walked had me gasping for air. To add some more fun to the adventure, I took the toboggan chair back down (great fun and very easy – you are on a winding track).

On the way back to Beijing, we stopped at the Olympic Park(Birds nest & the Cube), followed by our final stop at the long awaited Kang Fu Massage Center for a much needed foot massage. To end the evening, my wife and I walked through the scorpion-eating food market that was busy and bustling, filled with every kind of treat imaginable.


My last full day in Beijing started by riding the subway. Beijing has a very extensive subway system, and due to language challenges, it does seem overwhelming. However, the system is fairly well laid out, and with a little patience and confidence, it can easily be handled. Our first stop was the Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street, followed by a long, and I mean long and very steep, stairway climb to the Drum Tower. While in the Tower, we got to see a performance of the drums. This fun experience was followed by a visit to a local family’s home in the Hutong District, riding a rickshaw through the narrow streets and lunch in another local family’s home. For our final stop, our amazing William led us by subway to the Pearl Factory, a 5-story shopping complex where you literally can shop and bargain till you drop. Totally worn out, we made our way back to the Hotel on our own by way of the subway. I was proud of myself as I braved the daunting vending machine for my subway ticket!

Epilogue; Beijing is an amazing city, the air quality is lacking, the city is crowded but fairly clean, the people were wonderful and friendly, food was excellent, and although the vendors were pushy, I never once felt uneasy. Put it on your wish list and practice eating with chopsticks before you arrive!


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©2020 by cruisinbob