How to get to Beijing? Easy...
--> Pack your things one day ahead, take two friends, the best ones you have, go out with them, pick a club and spend your night there, at sunrise go straight to McDonald's, eat as fast as you can, get a taxi and head back to the campus, take a shower, call a taxi, you can't find a taxi, the train departures at 7:55, it's 7:00, takes 40 minutes to get there, now you panic, you finally get a taxi, sleep the whole ride, arrive at the train station, get through customs, run to the platform, get on the train right before it departures, high five your friends, you made it!
Or you can just skip all those steps and get to the train station on time like a normal person. Now if you're like me and you don't really like train rides, because you grew up in Romania and CFR is life, then getting on a train in China feels like heaven. Why? Well, it's clean! A lady comes every 30 minutes or so to collect the trash, so you don't need to throw it out the window or stuff it between the chairs. It's amazing! I call it civilization. Most of the trains are high-speed which means they go up to 350 km\h (not just 60) and they're also inexpensive. Back to the story now.
5 hours later we arrived Beijing. We had a nice room, a room with window, not too far from downtown and pretty clean. Is important to ask for a window room in China, not all the hotel rooms have (especially less than 4 star ones). Ours had a double window though. What's a double window? It's a decorative window ( you can only open the first window, because the second is just a glass ) so if you need some fresh air your only option is to open the door. Cool, right?
We checked-in and arranged at the reception tomorrow's trip to the Great Wall then wondered around the city for couple of hours, ate something and just before rain started we took a taxi back to the hotel.
Next morning at 7:30 a.m a bus picked us up, one hour later we arrived the Great Wall and the guide gave us three hours to wonder around. I don't think it's such a good idea to visit the Wall on a 32°C day in June and climb thousands of steps feeling like suffocating, but we did it and was worth it. I'm telling you, the view up there is AMAZING!
Are you planning a trip to The Great Wall? Click here to get more details.
Tired and sweaty we got back to the hotel, took a nap and then got ready for our night out in one of the best clubs in Beijing (at least that's what internet said). The night went great, except for the part where the club was closed. Have you ever gotten to a quiet area of the city with no wifi, no basic knowledge of Chinese language, asking random people for directions? It's even funnier when most of them don't understand English at all. It took us a while, but one hour later we found someone who pointed us in the right direction and we finally made it to a club.
The third day we spent it visiting the Forbidden City and the Tiananmen Square, learned about China's history and took hundreds of pictures. Click here for more information about Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
After the fourth day I couldn't walk anymore. Beijing Zoo is one of the largest Zoos in the world and had us walking the whole day, 34,8 km to be exact. We still didn't get to see the aquarium, so I planned to come back next day just for that.
Our last day in Beijing we visited the Mausoleum. That's the resting place of Mao Zedong, where his body was embalmed and put on display after his death. We've been told there's a dress code and I shouldn't wear anything above knees. Great! That's all I had in my luggage (skirts, dresses and shorts- all above knees ). Luckily Christian's jeans fit me and don't look that bad on me either. Still fashionable, right?
Don't miss the article about the Mausoleum! Check out what you should do before you get there.
After that I insisted to go back to the Zoo and visit the aquarium. My friends wanted to go somewhere else, but I'm too stubborn so we splitted. They went to the Temple of Heaven and I came back to the Zoo. The Aquarium had fascinating exhibits of aquatic life, but the ticket was too expensive, the show was entirely in chinese language and hordes of families with screaming children were everywhere. I couldn't see much because the parents would put the kids up front on the window and with everyone pushing, running and shouting around I left the place with a headache. Of course I didn't admit I took the wrong decision and told the boys it was great.
On the last day we took the train back to Wuxi right on time for the final exams.
Hope you enjoyed it. See you in my next adventures!