Paifang – symbol for Chinatowns

Paifang – symbol for Chinatowns

Behind this paifang in Wangfujing is a wonderful shopping world with red lanterns, narrow alleys, and shops with thousands of things to buy cheap. Paifang is an architectural gating style, according to wiki. Like an arch. Outside China, paifangs are the symbol for...
Starfish snack at Wangfujing

Starfish snack at Wangfujing

Wangfujing in Beijing is a nightmarket where there are many shops with traditional Chinese stuffs like bracelets, shoes, bags, among others. There are also malls and high-end stores in the same area. And if you get hungry, there are snacks here, albeit hard to eat,...
Where the last Ming emperor hanged himself

Where the last Ming emperor hanged himself

We didn’t know much about the Jingshan park, except that if offered a huge garden, so we went in. Then we noticed how people flocked under a tree. We found out that it was the hanging tree – from which the last Ming emperor, Chongzen, committed suicide,...
Temple for heaven worship

Temple for heaven worship

I didn’t know that there was a religion called Heaven worship until I came to Beijing. The Temple of Heaven was the sacrificial temple where the emperor – also called Son of Heaven (and therefore a mediator to the heavens) – offered prayers and...
How some tried to scam us in China

How some tried to scam us in China

Some tried to scam us while we were in Beijing, China. Here’s what happened: 1. Friendly “artists” and “art students” approached us and invited us to see galleries with them. It was exactly what the book Topp 10 Peking warned about. Such...
Sights and experiences in Beijing

Sights and experiences in Beijing

No city has exhausted my strength as Beijing did. Even taking the subway is hard work. Everything is so big, and everywhere you turn there are people. So we took the taxi a lot of times, and even hired a van with a driver and guide. The taxi drivers are often honest...
The wooden Marble boat

The wooden Marble boat

It’s not a boat, but a pavilion. And it’s not made of marble, but of wood that is painted to imitate marble. Before we found that out, we had been curious as to what a marble boat would look like. So we combed the Summer Palace to find it. We followed the...
The square that has room for a million

The square that has room for a million

There’s really not much to do here, but sit and stand and look around. We could easily have skipped it, but we just had to see the world’s largest public square. During the Cultural revolution, up to a million of people would pack here to listen to...
Pedalling boats at Kunming Lake

Pedalling boats at Kunming Lake

In sunshine, the roofs in the Summer Palace were a blaze of gold. Yellow roofs were for royal palaces. Green for the princes.  And grey  for other people. I took this picture from one of the highest points in the palace, overlooking Kunming Lake, where we earlier...
“Can we take a picture of you?”

“Can we take a picture of you?”

Many Beijingers asked us for our pictures. The first time I was asked, I refused. I was afraid – what would they do with my picture? The girl said I was very beautiful. Later on we noticed how people stared at my family – they observed how we ate or...
Peking duck at century-old Quanjude

Peking duck at century-old Quanjude

We ate Peking duck number 107 772 at the popular Quanjude restaurant in Beijing. A trip to Beijing would not be complete without tasting the famous peking duck so we specifically asked the hotel receptionist about the best restaurant in town. Quanjude is 140 years old...
Stuck in a duck

Stuck in a duck

We got stuck in a duck in Houhai lake in Beijing. Since there were men swimming around we thought that we could probably shout at some for help. But after some time, the motor started again. Around Houhai lake is fun. There are lively bars and restaurants that turn...
Emperors’ resting place

Emperors’ resting place

After visiting the Great Wall of China, we headed towards the resting place for 13 of the 16 Ming emperors. The Ming Tombs is Beijing’s answer to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, according to Lonely Planet. The pictures I am showing are within the huge...
Wandered in hutongs

Wandered in hutongs

Hutongs are narrow alleys formed by rows of siheyuans. While in Beijing we lived in a siheyuan at Courtyard 7, which is located in a hutong that was some 800 years old, according to the hotel manager. I loved the nightlife of commercial hutongs. Shops and food stores...
The world’s longest cemetery

The world’s longest cemetery

The Great Wall of China is the world’s longest cemetery, according to our guide Jessie. Many builders and soldiers died here. The Great Wall is a series of forts built to protect the Chinese empire from foreign invasion. The earliest sections were built 700...
Guzheng for the first time

Guzheng for the first time

On mid-autumn festival, I experienced a guzheng concert for the first time, thanks to our hotel Courtyard 7. Guzheng is a Chinese traditional instrument and a plucked zither. I’m not unfamiliar with zithers. I’ve seen plenty of these in Sweden, where I...
A siheyuan experience

A siheyuan experience

Siheyuans are old courtyard houses in China. I’ve seen such in old Chinese films, so I was delighted to stay in one, Courtyard 7 in Beijing. Courtyard 7 is an authentic 300-year old siheyuan. Empress Dowager Cixi – whose life fascinates me – gave...
Mid-autumn festival in Beijing

Mid-autumn festival in Beijing

Mid-Autumn festival fell on September 8 this year. And we didn’t know about it until that day. Our hotel, the 300-year old Courtyard 7 made it memorable for us. They invited their guests to free dinner buffet with lots of fruits and mooncakes and other food, as...
The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace: my favorite tourist spot in Beijing. It’s now  a vast park. But in the old days, the Summer Palace was where the emperors could indulge in sexual ventures more freely. I read that an emperor called “The Limping Dragon” took...
Home to thousands of concubines

Home to thousands of concubines

The Forbidden City: home to thousands of concubines – mistresses and sex slaves of Chinese emperors who believed that sex with young women was the key to youth and virility. The emperor had only one empress, but had thousands of teenage girls to entertain him....