Friday, July 16, 2010

Beijing, Part IV

After my experience at the Beijing Silk Market, I met a friend to visit the Forbidden City. As I waited for her to arrive on the subway, I noticed that there was a quiet, unassuming entrance right by the main gate of the Forbidden City. It was called “The Working People’s Cultural Palace” or something of that nature. I had never heard of it before so I walked to the entrance and saw that the fee was only 2 Yuan, so I decided to go.

The “Cultural Palace” was not at all what I expected. It was basically a huge, beautiful, rather deserted park. The morning mist and drizzle made the place even more mysterious and fascinating. I was really happy to discover this little gem. So far, this is the only attraction that did not have huge crowds of people swarming all over it. Perhaps it is overshadowed by its big siblings Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

The park had Cyprus trees that are 500 years old.

It also contained large temples. These were where the emperors would go to make sacrifices to their ancestors.

It was an absolutely gorgeous place. I’m really surprised more people haven’t discovered it. If you are ever in Beijing and need a moment of peace and quiet away from the crowds, I highly recommend this park. It is to the right of the main entrance of the Forbidden City.

Then I went to the Forbidden City. Even though it was raining pretty hard, there were so many visitors!

There were some quieter corners though.

For dinner, we went to feast on a famous specialty, Beijing roast duck. Basically, the fresh roasted duck is cut into slices. You take a wrap and roll up pieces of the duck meat and crispy skin along with green onions and a sweet bean sauce.

In the foreground of this photo are the wraps.

It was a delicious meal and I was sorry that I had to rush back to the hotel.

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