We have just settled back into the hotel after a long (and truly excellent) day in Beijing. Today we started a not-so-American breakfast in our hotel (description = difficult), and then spent the morning in Tiananmen Square before entering the Forbidden City (this was properly named “city”-it is hudge!) Our tour guide did an excellent job filling us in on the history surrounding both, as well as treated us to a delicious peach ice cream as a mid-day cool off (China is much hotter than we imagined).
From the Forbidden City we ventured into the oldest neighborhood in Beijing, where families have lived for generations (visited a family whose descendants lived in the same building for 5
generations….incredible!) Via rickshaw, we arrived at a local home for lunch, which was unanimously voted the most delicious food we have eaten thus far by all. We returned (once again by rickshaw) to the bus on route to a Buddhist temple where we paid our respects with incense, and then learned about the Chinese form of Buddhism.
From the temple, we made our last stop of the day: a traditional tea house for an authentic tea experience. We were privileged enough to have an excellent woman guide us through the art of Chinese tea preparation and the long standing tea-drinking tradition (and particularly how it relates to the different regions in China). We sat through a tasting of 5 distinct teas, one for each category of Chinese tea: black, green, flower, herbal, and fruit. To finish the day, we will dine on the internationally acclaimed cuisine of McDonald’s (adventurous) and will rest for a great day tomorrow at the Great Wall.