After the WWW2008 conference ended me and guys stayed on in Beijing for a couple of days in order to take in some of the local sites. Armed with our camera’s and a subway map, Rob, Paul and Myself managed to find our way to Beijing Zoo and saw an assortment of wonderful animals – but for me it was the Pandas, that I had really wanted to see.
We also a section of The Great Wall in Ba Da Ling. The sheer immensity of this 6000 km structure is breathtaking. You can’t help but feel small and insignificant as you walk along the wall and and take in the view around you:
We also visited The Temple of Heaven, which is situated near the center of Beijing. There was something wonderfully serene about the temple, that made you feel as though you’d stepped from the hustle and bustle of one world into the magical calm of another. It’s a site rich with tradition and as a temple it is beautiful to behold.
We also walked through Tiananmen Square. In some ways it felt surreal, as we walked through it taking pictures, I couldn’t help but recall as a teenager seeing images on television of students demonstrating and vividly remember seeing images of tanks bearing down on demonstrators. Yet as I looked around there were thousands of people, mostly chinese, milling around the square, there were also many tourists everyone seemed cheerful, it was a far cry from those images on TV:
We tried to visit The forbidden city, but unfortunately by the time we arrived there were hundreds of people queuing to buy tickets to get in and because it would have taken at least an hour to queue there we opted not to given we only had a few hours left. So we decided to walk around the grounds outside The Forbidden city and take some pictures:
Following that we finally visited The Summer Palace, which for me was the highlight of the trip. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We took a boat out on the lake and took some pictures of the palace:
I loved the visit to China. I wish I could think of a bad thing to say but I really can’t – everyone we met was polite, approachable and kind; the sites we saw were amazing; the food was great!. I must confess there was a huge difference between the China I experienced and the China that is reported in the media here in the UK – which is the real China? I honestly can’t say, but I will cherish my memories of the place. As usual all my photo’s are on flickr, but I should warn you that I have uploaded roughly six hundred of them (out of the 1500 I took!). To make things easier if you click on any of the photos above they’ll show you pictures tagged with that specific location. Or if your prefer you can view the whole lot here.