It’s not often I get time to go out and explore when I’m working an event with my day job. I do get a few hours off each day, but usually that time is spent recovering from the long hours we do.
Yesterday I had the morning off and rather than catch up on sleep I got up early and went wandering around Beijing.
First up on the agenda was the Forbidden City. I’ve been before so rather than go in and spend my entire morning wandering around it’s temples, I chose to explore the parks around the outskirts of it instead.
There are two parks just north of the Forbidden City that looked the most promising, one that after climbing hundreds of steps offers an amazing view of Beijing and the Forbidden City (that photo at the top of the screen) and the other is Beihai Park (below).
Beihai Park was built in the 11th century and has lots of temples and peaceful corners. The smog was quite light that day and if I had more time I could happily have sat there and watched the world go by.
Distances in Beijing are deceiving. On the map there were other places that looked nearby but really aren’t. I’d planned on visiting the Temple of Heaven which looks like it’s 10 minutes from the Forbidden City, but in actual fact is a huge journey on foot, especially from the north gate, where I was.
I didn’t make it anywhere close to where I wanted to be but in the free time I had left I got to see the National Centre for Performing Arts (the photo below). It’s a cool looking building and since the smog was lighter, one I was looking forward to photographing.
I think it’s my best shot of the day.
I don’t have much time left here in Beijing, but my hope is that with the time off I still have, I’ll be able to explore even more of the city and the culture. As with everything here though, it does depend entirely on the smog being bearable, which is always the challenge.