After we visited Tiananmen Square we headed to the Forbidden City.

Wikipedia: The Forbidden City

Julie, our tour guide, was Chinese and seemed to genuinely love sharing her knowledge of the history behind the places we went to. Touring the city would not have been the same without her – looking back on the trip, I absolutely would go on a guided tour again in another country. I had always just assumed because I enjoy being on my own that being in a group would be more of a pain then it was worth, but it was the complete opposite. There is no way I would have seen as much of Beijing or appreciated it in the same way, had I not been with a tour group and had Julie not been there with us.

Beijing as a whole was one of the most crowded cities I have ever been too. Because of that when I would see places that felt “empty” I quickly started snapping pictures. So while a few of my pictures below make the Forbidden City look empty of tourists, it was quite the opposite!

 

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When you let it soak in just how old this palace is, it makes it even more impressive.

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With Karina from Newline Sport

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Standing outside the emperors bedroom

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We visited one of the Imperial Gardens inside the city. The gardens were primarily composed of extremely old trees and rocks. I imagine that these gardens were at one point a very peaceful relaxing place. 111 113 116 117

After we finished our visit at the Forbidden City we headed to a local restaurant for lunch. When Eric and I went off and found food on our own we didn’t venture far from the hotel. Again if we had not been with a tour group we would probably had not had the chance to eat as much local cuisine and certainly would not have ended up in the restaurants that we did simply because of the language barrier.

For the most part I stayed away from meat – I really did not want to risk getting sick in a foreign country the week before a marathon. Eric was a bit more outgoing than I was with food, but even he held back more than he normally would. Peking Duck was the special dish at lunch and though I’ve had Peking Duck before but I can’t say I have ever eaten in a place where the entire duck was cut up in front of you.

It was amusing to me that Coke was served at every meal. The cost of water was typically four times {or more} that of what a coke was and wasn’t served to you unless you asked for it. The meals were all included in the marathon package HOWEVER you often times had to pay extra if you wanted water. It was almost as if you were looked at funny if you turned down the warm coke that was served before your food arrived. I like to think too much about little things and found it interesting that the entire time there I didn’t see one single Pepsi product, it was all Coke, and there was no diet. The closest thing Eric saw at one restaurant – which happened to be an Italian Restaurant owned by a Korean company was Coke Zero.

The food was served family style and was ordered ahead of time, so we didn’t have to decide what we wanted. It was put on a lazy susan in the middle of the table and you could try what you wanted. Rice was my main staple for the week and we only drank bottled water. I don’t regret not trying more of the food – I love food but it just wasn’t my thing here. I felt perfectly happy sticking to rice and vegetables. For the most part I didn’t have any stomach issues on race day, so that confirms I made the right choice!

After lunch we went to the Temple of Heaven. This was one of my favorite places we visited while in Beijing!

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More pictures from the Temple of Heaven and more stories leading up to race day of The Great Wall Marathon coming in another post. And just like I promised in the last post – it won’t take me months to share them!

Related Posts:

The Great Wall of China: Touring Beijing

Back From The Great Wall of China Marathon

China: Great Wall Marathon Inspection Day

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