China Travels – Part 2

by Stephanie on September 30, 2012 · 0 comments

in Travel

Time for Round 2 of the China trip photo dump.  Enjoy!

On my first full day in Beijing I went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.  The taxi drivers don’t speak English and he ended up dropping us off in a scary neighborhood that was a solid mile from the Square!  Getting there was an adventure that did include riding in the bicycle taxi.  I couldn’t get good pictures of Tiananmen Square because it was closed off for some sort of gathering.  I’m not sure what was going on.  We did get to go inside the Forbidden City though.  When we got there a tour guide named Tina found us and gave us a fantastic tour.  She knew all of the history and told us great stories about when the emperors of China lived there.

Entrance to the city.

These are the giant doors throughout the city.  You rub the knobs for good luck.

In the olden days, the emperors were the only people allowed to walk up the middle staircases below.  At the bottom of these stairs is a giant courtyard (one of several) where the high officials would gather to hear addresses from the emperor or celebrate holidays like Chinese New Year.

Something you probably didn’t know about me… I LOVE stone lions.  I have pictures of them from all my travels.  They seem to be popular worldwide!  My favorite ever are the lions outside the Art Institute of Chicago, but these Chinese stone lions are pretty cool too.

They originated in the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and are supposed to be protective.  The lions are always made and displayed in pairs, usually flanking the entrance to palaces, temples, and tombs.  This one is a female.  You can tell because under her paw is a baby lion, lying on its back with its little paws holding on to hers.  The male lions have their paw resting on the world.

This statue is something I’ve never seen but I instantly loved it.  It is a turtle with the head and tail of a dragon.  A dragon turtle!  Two animals I love mashed into one… how cool is that??  The dragon symbolizes power and the turtle symbolizes longevity, thus the dragon turtle is a symbol of the Chinese dynasties.

 

Before flying out on last Friday afternoon, my coworkers and I went to the Great Wall.  It was AWESOME.  It was easily one of the coolest places I’ve ever been.  We really lucked out too.  We got there at 9 AM and there was almost no one there.  We had the wall all to ourselves with the exception of two other small groups of people.  By the time we left two hours later it was getting packed.  Our pictures wouldn’t have been nearly as cool with hundreds of people around!

Cable cars up to the Wall.

Look at how steep that is!  I was exhausted walking up and down those hills/stairs.  I’ve heard rumors there are 10ks and other runs on the Great Wall… better do some major hill training for that!

Inside the tower above.  This tower (command post) was finished in 1404.

Hanging out of the Tower window.

There was one room where thousands of people had written their name so we joined in and took pictures… here’s mine!  How cool would it be to go back years from now and still see it there?

Proof that I did it! :)

 

It really was a fantastic trip and I’m so glad my job gives me the opportunity to see places like this.  Can’t wait til the next trip!

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