On my first day to China, I payed the Forbidden City on Tian’men Square in Beijing a visit. Obviously a great tourist destination, it comes with the usual nuisances of such places: Every ten steps someone offers to be my guide – their English usually hardly good enough to make me understand their offer. Then there were also the artists that wanted me to come along with them and look at their exhibition somewhere in a side alley, something every Beijing guide I’ve read specifically warned against doing. Apparently, some people got robbed that way …
After passing that obstacle course successfully, I spent an hour baking in the sun waiting in line to get a ticket to enter the Forbidden City. Again, peddlers seemed strongly attracted to me trying to sell me everything from water to ice cream, sun hats, maps, programs, Kodak films and umbrellas. I did buy a sun hat, since I forgot mine at the hotel and the Beijing sun proved to be surprisingly strong. I even got a rather nasty sunburn in a spot I forgot to apply sunprotection to. So, just because you can’t see the sun in the Beijing sky when you leave your hotel in the morning, don’t think it has gone elsewhere. It’s there and working hard – trust me.
But the effort was absolutely worth it: The Forbidden City is incredibly beautiful and fascinating to everyone with even a faint interest in architecture and art. There are some nice art exhibits inside some of the palaces that show artworks from the time the palaces were lived in by the emperors and their courts. See for yourself:
|Beijing Forbidden City|