Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Beijing Sept 8/9, 2009 Temple of the Sun and the Great Wall

Our afternoon was spent wandering through the park at the Temple of the Sun.  It was a lovely day and we found that the retired folk find lots to do here.  In the early morning they do tai chi but during the day different groups select their own activities.  Some play cards, others sing, and some play a version of hackey sack with a home made shuttlecock.  It's social, occupies their time and they seem very happy with it.

The Temple of Heaven (or Temple of the Sun)and it's park  were
 built by the same Emperor that built the Forbidden City.  He and 
his successors would lead processions to the temple to pray for a
 good harvest.  

Our day finished with dinner at Dadong, where duck is the specialty and it came in an amazing variety of ways, including Peking duck.   

The next day we went to the Great 
Wall at Mutianyu.
 A cable car ride took us to an area where we could get onto the wall.  It has been well fixed up and you may walk for a long way in either direction.  However we were given an hour, and it was 30C and sunny and since it follows the spine of the hills it is very up and down.  Going from one tower to the next was enough!  It is so amazing to think that the beginning of the wall (not this section but further west) started over 2000  years ago by the Qin emperor who was also responsible for the  Terracotta Warriors and a system of unification and governance that lasted until 1949.  

Our lunch was in the Houtong, the old residential section of Beijing.  This part is being fixed up for tourists, but it was still interesting to explore and talk to the lady that provided an excellent lunch.   We had a pedicab tour from there to  Mme Sun Yat Sen's house where we learned about her and her two sisters and the roles they and their husbands played during the cultural revolution.  Her house was previously a prince's palace and the gardens were lovely.

Another excellent supper in a restaurant overlooking the lake in the Houtong.  

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