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After the extreme weather, strong winds and basic lifestyle in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia we were ready for something completely different... Beijing was waiting for us. After the last and very nice 27 hours on the Trans Mongolian Railway, we set foot on Chinese soil. Beijing and the Chinese people gave us a warm welcome and it stayed this way!
The excellent metro network and English signing everywhere makes transport fast and easy, especially for foreigners. But we should not get used to this... the rest of China will be without any English signage.
We explored Beijing by bike and discovered that this way of transportation is even better. Cruising the enormous bike lanes feels great! And of course we could see a lot more of the city compared to the underground subway. We only had to pay attention to the very silent electrical bikes coming from behind ;)
Every evening we went to the Hutongs. Hutongs are narrow and lively alleyways which offer a wide range of restaurants, coffee bars and delicious street food. Here you can still see and experience the real Chinese lifestyle. Our pick was the Wudaoying Hutong, which wasn't very touristy yet. This made the experience even better!
Within the hutongs no English is spoken, so for us it was impossible to order the street food we wanted. Luckily there is always a friendly local to help you out and a big smile works fine too. We set up our own table and chairs before we started eating our finger licking good meat and vegetable skewers.
You can't visit Beijing without tasting the famous Peking Duck. A dinner at Dadong Duck Roast Restaurant is more than just tasting the duck, it's a complete 'duck' experience: your duck is prepared at your table, loads of ducks pass by ready to get a proper roast and each course had a wonderful presentation. Heaven for travelling foodies like us!
Beijing offers great sightseeing places around the city. We were a bit unlucky that we visited Beijing during Dragon Boat Festival, which means the crowded city and sightseeing places were even more crowded! We checked the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, The Olympic Park, Drum and Bell Tower and many others together with millions of Chinese people...
An absolute highlight was our daytrip to the Great Wall. We spent a full afternoon here while we hiked and climbed around restored and unrestored parts of the Wall. We visited the Jinshanling entry and it turns out to be an excellent choice. Even during Dragon Boat Holiday it was very quiet. The scenery is breathtaking and to see the Wall stretching out for miles and miles is unbelievable. A true and well deserved world wonder :)
We are looking forward to see more of China...!