This would be the last blog in my five-city China adventure series. Thank you for keeping up with my stories.
To shake things, up, I won’t be telling this story chronologically. Instead, I would tell them according to the categories in my head. This blog is all about the last two days of our China stay.
If you asked me what my favorite site in Beijing was, this is it: the Temple of Heaven (天坛). This would be my third time to visit the park, and my love for it remained constant. I could recall fond memories of dancing in those ancient steps with the news crew shooting us when I was a teenager. This time, the experience was different, but the giddiness remained the same.
Emperors used to come to this temple to offer prayers and gifts to heaven. The general design theme was squares and circles: square represents earth, circle represents heaven. Today, the park is being used extensively by locals, young and old alike. It was fun to just sit down in their many benches and people watch.
After five cities, I felt that visiting more temples, old houses and ancient walls would be too repetitive already, and that it was time for modern activities.
The National Center for the Performing Arts (国家大剧院) was suggested to George by Paula. After reading about it online, we decided to include it in our itinerary. It was their Opera festival, and they had an exhibit of all the operas they have performed. I was suitably impressed with their sets and mock ups. Their costumes were equally amazing. It was just weird to see pictures of European Operas, such as Carmen, La Traviata etc., with mostly a Chinese cast. I was a bit jealous of the artistic opportunities their people had.
The 798 Art Zone (798艺术区 ) was a gamble. No one recommended it to me. I just encountered it in Tripadvisor. I wished we had more time in that area. Art + shopping + cafes = fun! I chose to wander around by myself and simply soaked in the bohemian atmosphere.
Wang fu jing street (王府井大街) never gets old. We went there to visit the bookstores. None of us were into shopping for clothes or designer goods at that moment so we again split to separate ways and did our own errands.
Something in Between
Nan luo gu xiang (南罗鼓巷) was not part of our itinerary at all. We were supposed to visit Sanlitun (三里屯) for its night life, but none of us drink or party hard. Paula recommended this area and we didn’t know what was there at all. It turned out, the street was in one of the hutong areas. It was artsy, and it reminded me of modern street stores. We walked it from in end to the other, before walking all the way back to our hotel.
Fil and I paid for our simple hotel breakfast. George treated us lunch, and Paula brought us to another busy area, to treat us for our last dinner in Beijing. It was very good! We arrived early and still, we were fifth on the wait list. Locals patronize this restaurant.
My Peking Duck Eating Preference:
We have reached the end of the line. We left the country of our ancestors and returned to the country of our birth, full of fond memories and laughter. I thank God for all the experiences and learning we have had, and I pray that we could do another trip like this again. Maybe in five years, we can save up for DIY Holy Land or DIY Europe. Who knows?
To read our complete itinerary, click here.
To read about our previous adventure in Beijing, click here.