PAST & PRESENT // Beijing, China

It has been a busy couple of weeks around here, with tonight being the first time that finishing off my holiday photos has even crossed my mind! I thought I only had one more post to go, but turns out I took million photos of street food… but that will come in the next post!

My last couple of days in Beijing involved a hodge podge variety of activities, influenced by both dismal air quality and wanting to spend as much time as I could catching up with my fried before I flew out. I was also admittedly running out of things to do, resulting in me deciding to check out the National Museum.

In my stupidity I thought I would be fine going to the Museum, however it turns out trying to go anywhere near Tianenman Square on a Sunday is going to result in a long wait! Entering both the Square and the Museum required security checks, so long story short, I spent a lonnnnnng time walking around and waiting in lonnnnnng security lines.

Entry to the Museum is free, and it is incredibly big, so one could easily come back over a few days and visit different exhibits. As I was meeting my friend for lunch I only wandered through the Ancient China exhibit. To keep my good luck rolling I entered at the most recent end of the exhibit, so I ended up going backwards in time. All well!

I met my friend nearby and we headed down a hutong for lunch and coffee at a super cute, totally hipster cafe. Rooftop hutong photos are always mandatory. Not featured: the neighbours chickens.

As a bit of contrast to the all the historical attractions I had been visiting, we checked out one of the ultra modern shopping centres in the CBD. It was certainly a change, and consumerism galore. Not to mention some of the high end fashion shops featured living models (like, literally some poor young girl standing in the window of a shop) and robots that greeted you as you entered.

We caught a bus and finally visited Atmosphere, a bar at the top of a hotel in the centre of the Beijing CBD. Being a Sunday we had not trouble getting a seat by the window, though apparently visiting on a Friday and Saturday window seating involves booking in advance and having a minimum spend! The cocktails were reasonably priced and the views were great, but the windows were filthy from the smog! Hence, the lack of photos. We also passed the iconic CCTV Headquarters building, seen above, on the way.

The next day I ventured off early to check out the Olympic precinct. It was a rather odd experience, with the area feeling quite deserted! A giant concrete boulevard ran what felt like several kilometres, and whilst walking the length of it I encountered few others.

As per my tourist obligations, I checked off the ‘Birds Nest’ and the ‘Water Cube’. It was absolutely freezing on this particular day, so I was quick to catch a glimpse of each location and keep moving!

I walked to end of the boulevard, and into a man made park. Again, it was also eerily quiet, especially for Beijing!

I had plans to meet my friend for lunch again near the Lama Temple, and in my typical way I arrived far too early. After a coffee stop I explored the area a little more, venturing to a nearby park.

I honestly think I am in love with Chinese gardens – they are so peaceful, yet at the same time full of life and a hub of local activity.

My friend coincidentally popped out of the metro station early as I settled down to read and wait, so we grabbed lunch down a nearby hutong (always!) and huddled in another cute cafe to keep warm for the afternoon.

More adventures were to be had on my final day, but as per usual there are too many photos! Only one post to go, and then I might finally be up to date with my life.

– Reanna

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