The second day of our tour started out with a fun breakfast of east meets west. Had some awesome Asian noodles and some bread and watermelon too! All eaten with chopsticks. I really enjoyed our breakfasts on this trip. They all had a great selection of food, all of it delicious! The tea was incredible too. I enjoyed several cups a day!
We hopped on our coach bus and headed out to Tiananmen Square to explore.
Tiananmen Square is one of the largest squares in the world. A lot of history happened here, including some important political events and protester riots. The tomb of Chairman Mao is also in the square.
The security is tight in the square, you could see fire extinguishers everywhere (presumably to control riots if they were to happen). They also had a huge jumbotron in the middle playing a loop of patriotic propaganda.
At the end of the square, a giant portrait of Chairman Mao looks over the crowds.
The building behind us is the beginning of the entrance to the Forbidden City.
Soon enough, we got close and it was time to inside!
Lead the way, trusty tour guide, Alex!
I wasn’t prepared for how huge the Forbidden City was. Courtyard after courtyard, we were in there for a few hours and I feel like we barely scratched the surface!
By the end of our tour, we had literally been walking for hours! Time for lunch!
We jumped back on our bus and headed to the 798 District. This area used to be all factories, but is now inhabited by a community of local artists. It feels very much like Berlin, you’d think you were in Europe!
It has a unique history, here’s more information if you’re interested! We thought it was especially cool since we had been in Berlin a couple of years back.
We chose to eat at one of the many cafes along the main drag: Cafe Flatwhite 798.
I got a little excited to see a somewhat ‘western’ menu and ordered a sandwich and a coffee float (with ice cream)! Irving had a potpie with fries. Everything was excellent!
After we ate, we spent some time wandering the area. Every alley had hidden shops, art galleries and public art to see. We just meandered up and down dropping into stores here and there. They had some unique things we had never seen before, everything from vinyl records to custom iPhone cases to modern art. Our favorite was a gallery of traditional Chinese art that had been re-imagined into Modern Art. Think a cherry blossom tree with paint splatters over it. Very cool stuff. I’m sort of kicking myself now for not buying a print. Le sigh.
The 798 District is off the beaten path (our tour book didn’t even mention it), but well worth the visit if you’re in Beijing!
But the fun didn’t stop there on Day 2 of our trip! Up next is the Olympic Village! Stay tuned for more!
The 798 District looks awesome! What a cool section of the city!