Our Time in China: Studying and Travelling – Maria

My Christmas trip to Beijing

Hello! I am Maria (邓晴岚) and I would like to tell you about my Christmas trip to Beijing. I started being interested in this city a few years ago when we started studying Chinese Culture and History at the Faculty of Letters. Our teachers always talked about places such as the Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace or the Forbidden City.  One of my dreams is to see all the places I studied about. So, after one semester in China, my friends and I decided to take a break and leave Hangzhou for a few days.

Once we got to Beijing we went directly to the city centre.Winter in northern part is colder, but people are pretty warm, always offering you a helping hand. In our first day we visited 天安门, the Forbidden City and its surroundings and the Temple of Heaven. We also went to a restaurant nearby the Forbidden City to eat 饺子 (dumplings) because our teachers told us 冬至吃饺子 (during Winter Solstice – December 21, 22 or 23 – you have to eat dumplings). We tried the same food as in the South just to see if it has the same taste, so we ordered fried rice. Northern people like to eat salty food, while Southern people like to eat sweet or spicy food.

On the second day, we went to The Great Wall of China because one of the most popular Chinese idioms is 不到长城非好汉 (if you fail to reach the Great Wall, you’re not a hero), and it’s a great experience to ”conquer” one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Despite the cold weather we really enjoyed the view that Badaling offered us. In the evening we celebrated our ”victory” by eating Peking duck, drinking tea, and going for a walk in the city centre. We saw the modern buildings like CCTV and the Olympic Stadium – The Nest.

Our last day in Beijing was one of the coldest days, but it didn’t stop us ing continuing our trip. We took the bus at 6am to Summer Palace, a place that really makes you feel small. The ancient architecture and the tall buildings make you feel overwhelmed. Another wonderful building that we visited was the Lama Temple of Peace and Harmony which holds the World Record for the tallest Buddhist statue craved out of a single white sandalwood tree (its legs alone are 8m tall).

Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t be deceived by everything you hear about Beijing: the pollution, the traffic jams or the crowded streets… give it a chance! You will find out that it is a charming city!