We left at the hotel half an hour after our meeting time because we’re Germans and we’re always on time. We went to Tian an men square, the biggest square in a city centre in the world. The most exciting thing to see there was not the entrance to the Forbidden City, no, it was us! You feel like a VIP with everyone wanting to take pictures of you, with you, with you holding their baby, it’s crazy! But sometimes you feel more like an animal in the zoo when they hold their iPads directly into your face without even asking. Seriously? Apart from historic events, the square is not that special and the actual place worth visiting is situated on the other side of the road behind masses of umbrellas: the Forbidden City.
It’s remarkable how big and spacious everything is! You’ve got the typical Chinese buildings with wave-like roofs, yellow, blue and red being the dominant colours. Stairs guide you through a port into the next open area. The details are fantastic, they put so much effort in decorating the walls, the roofs, the gargoyles, the columns, it’s impossible to know where to look first. Toward the end of the site, there is a green area with temples overgrown with flowers. It’s so pretty.
Right before we wanted to leave, it started raining and hailing like the world was going to end. I have to praise myself for wearing fliflops. My converse would still be wet today… It didn’t stop, so we ran to the bus which brought us to the restaurant where parts of the roof (over the bathrooms) was not leak-proof. Luckily the rain became less so we could continue our tour for the day to the Temple of Heaven. The “Temple” is more like many temples, exhibition halls, walls, boulevards and the special altar for the jade Emperor’s spirit. Even though the rain made me feel freezing cold and killed my enthusiasm of spending any more time outside, I ended up being fascinated by the whole site. Once again.
Before returning to the hotel we stopped at a tea house where we got to try different types of tea, kind of like wine tasting but with tea. The one below looks like a dragon ball when it’s dry, but once you put it in your cup or glass, it magically becomes a flower 😉