Beijing, China {Traveldiary}

Arriving in Beijing

After another long night in the sleeper train- this time we had an upgraded version with just four beds, we arrived in Beijing. I loved the city from the moment we left the trainstation. 
Beijing had an incredible authentic feeling. It was not like Shanghai, full of new skyscrapers - the new york of the east. 
Beijing has loads more of interesting sights and points of interest, additionally the great wall is located near by and that was exactly the kind of activity I was looking for. 

Our hostel turned out to be one of the greatest and most social ones in China. It was located on a lively street with loads of little Restaurants and shops. 

Day one - Beijing

Straight after arriving we started our Beijing exploration tour! Aidan and Conor were still with us and accepted us as their tourguide. Lets say, they did not had to organize anything, because of our perfect working, german, effizient, travelplan. 
We took an endless long walk to the Temple of Heaven just to find out, that the tickets that we bought were just usefull for the park, but not for the actuall entrance to the Palace. I still got a sneeky picture from over one of the fences.
We spend some time strolling around in the park, laughing and making jokes and enjoying the nature in the park. 
After the walk we came back to the street our hostel was located on and found our new favorite Restaurant. Our breakfast, lunch and dinner place, that we would spend our money on the following six days.

It was not even one when we had our first bottles of beers open. 
Loads of dumplings later we decided to still go see the forbidden city. I have to say, I was pretty tired by then and I really  just wished for a nap, but every one was enthuiastic and ready to go. To the guys defense, they just had two days in Beijing before flying back home. 
So we left the hostel and went on another long walk. The way to the entrance was a bit tricky, because we had to pass several big streets, security checks and underpasses. We, at some point, finally made it to the forbidden city. 
We really had a lucky day, because the sun was shining and the sky was blue. I think that is a special day for a usually smoggy city. Apparently a day in Beijing with that smog has the same effect as a pack of cigarette a day. Congrats, lung cancer here we go.
The forbidden city was a great experience and thank god most of the tourist were already gone when we arrived. 
Aidan and Conor bought two chinese flags and waved around with them like excited first classes on their first day of school. Pretty funny. The two Irish were anyways fun company and easy to travel with. They had terrible humor and teased us most of the time, but it was pretty nice, to have someone to share the experience with. 
As if we had not already walked 18k that day we kept on walking and went up to another temple to have a view over the forbidden city. 
I really liked that part, because the parc was beautiful and so was the view! I was exhausted after that, but the guys decided to take a Riksha to some lake and so our journey went on. 
Finally after 22km of walking in total we arrived back at the hostel. I was so tired I fell asleep in the cab, as soon as we head home. 
But no time for a nap, because it was dinner time and we got back to our dumpling and beer restaurant. 
We spend the rest of the evening drinking beers on the street, waving chinese tourists, taking loads of pictures and having long fun chats about life. 
We headed back to the hostel at around midnight. I was way to tired for anything else. 

Day two - Beijing

On our second day in Beijing we had a tour booked to the great wall. Our hostel offered a secret tour that promised us to be basically the only tourists on this part of the wall and we for sure did not get disappointed. The great wall was empty. Just us and endless k of steps and stones. We started the day early and hungover and drove two hours to the entrance to the secret part. After a short introduction and a weird tasting green tee from the coffeeshop we started a 6k hike up the wall. We had five towers in total to climb. After  the Machu Picchu Jungle tour I did earlier this year, this felt like a short and easy walk.
But the climbing was fun and the view incredible. Just imaginating where I actually was and the history to the wall made it such an incredible experience. At some point Lucia and I had the wall totally to ourself, because the other ones where either way  back behind us or in front. We started dancing on the wall and took an hilarious gopro video of us! I am sure the people watching the security cameras (that are basicaly everywhere in China) had a good laugh at us.
Our day at the great wall ended with long awated food and a three hour ride back to the hostel. I think we spend at leats an hour in Beijings crazy traffic.
The second evening Lucia and I socialized with some backpackers at our hostel. We played some backpackers drinking games, drank beer from a tower (we did not know by then that the next day would make us all feeling very very weird and sick) and had a fun time.

Day three - Beijing

The following day started with half the hostel being sick. We guessed that it must have been the ice or the water they used for the towers to cool down or clean. 
Still after a while we decided to head into town and we went for the summer palace a bit north of the city. It was located next to a nice lake! Again the weather was pretty good and the view really pretty.

At some point, we were just about to cross a bridge, some chinese tourists that were surely not from a bigger city, saw us and got totally excited to see westeners. So the picture marathon started and for half an hour we took endless selfies and videos and the guys even liftet up a chinese woman! They were so excited! The chinese. Not the irish.
 At some point we got really annoyed  because it did not stop and we realized how stars at hollywood must feel, when every person comes by excited to take a million pictures with you. So we left quickly and headed back. We decided to take a quick stop at the Olympic center! 
The buildings there were incredible and it was such a cool contrast to see it in comparision with the traditional Beijing. 
Also the sun was about to go down and left a beautiful sunset over Beijing.

That day was the last one for Aidan and Conor and to celebrate it we again went to our favorite restaurant and had a huge meal with peking duck, dumplings and beer! It was a fest and led to fun conversations and loads of laughers (often due to me, because of the beer tower incident, the whole day I felt pretty shity, and I mean really shity if you know what I mean. I am not going into details here, but yes backpacking is not always the most comfortable kind of traveling).
The guys left us in the middle of the night for their plane and Lucia and I felt kind of weird the first evening, because we were back on our own. After ten hilarious days it was us again, as it was at the beginning. 

Day four,  five and six- Beijing

I have to admit, I do not really know what happend when and in what order. We had a train booked back to Shanghai for our sixt day, so we spend day four and five seeing more temples, having fun evenings and meeting some of Lucias friends that were studying in Beijing.

I think it was the forth evening when we took the metro to meet up with Lucias friends in a bar. The people we met were our age and all exchange students in Beijing. We started the evening in the bar with cheap bottles of Gin and two euros Wodka Redbulls. It ended with several drinking games. At midnight we decided to head to one of Beijings most popular Party Areas. Silenium. We were on a guest list for a club called VLounge. We felt totally under dressed in our old backpacking clothes. At least I had a decent top, that was not to bad. While the exchange students wore ralph laureen polos, short black dresses and fancy shoes. But we are westerners, so we still had the golden card. We had access to the whole bar for free(!) To the Vip area and the rooftop bar. With us being westeners we automatically made advertisement for the club. It was as if a famous hollywood person would go to a special club in LA. It was good reputation for the club and made it way fancier than it actually was. Good for us. Still I stayed with my two Gin Tonics, because I still did not feel well after the beer towers some days ago! 
At some point everyone was hammered, but Lucia and I got a bit annoyed at everything and tired as well, so we decided to head home.

The week in Beijing was packed with sightseeing, long walks, fun evenings and loads of dumplings. Beijing was my personal highlight. I finally could cross of the Great Wall from my Bucket list. 

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