Our first stop was Beijing where we visited Tienanman Square, a Cloisonne Factory, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, and the Forbidden City.

The Great Wall was an unforgettable sight and surprisingly steep to climb. In addition, the paving was stone with many steps. It was built over several hundred years and much of it has now been restored.

The Summer palace was beautiful with many bronze sculptures and painted decorations. It has been recently painted and restored in preparation for the Olympic Games in 2008. The Forbidden City is likewise undergoing restoration and re-painting. The golden tile roofs of the buildings are being replaced. Only the Emperor could sleep in a building with a golden roof. There are 9,000 buildings in the Forbidden City and if the Emperor slept in a different room every night from the day of his birth he would be 27 years old before he would have to repeat himself.

Celia Bell 2012