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Trip Report A week of blue skies in Beijing, who would've guessed?

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So we're back from our amazing week in Beijing.

Quick reflection........yes we could've done more and yes we are probably the first visitors EVER to go and not visit The Forbidden City but we had a fabulously relaxing 30th wedding anniversary holiday.

Departed Brisbane on Malaysian Airlines at 11.30pm on a Friday night. Had a 13 hour layover in Kuala Lumpur..... details are here if interested.
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia/13-hour-layover-in-kl-never-visited-city-before-ideas.cfm

After an uneventful flight and an easy run through customs, we met our driver in the arrivals hall. Considering it was about 1.30am we were glad to have him there, his English was great, we'd booked him on his website which some friends had used last year. We also used him later in the week to get out to the wall.
http://beijingcardriver.com/

Took about 30 minutes at that time of day to get to Raffles Hotel, its really beautiful and we had a very warm greating. We didn't stay in the main building (which was a godsend as it happened) but our building was connected by a small internal walkway. Our room was on the Club Lounge level and it was lovely, a separate sitting/lounge area and large bedroom and equally large bathroom. We fell into bed and slept very well, and thanks to Beijing only being two hours behind Brisbane time wise, there was no real adjustments.

The next morning we went down for breakfast to the main restaurant, we did have the choice of going to the lounge for a lighter breakfast had we wanted to. But as we tend to like a decent breakfast to fuel us for the day while we are away we opted to go down.

Just perfect, yes probably like most 5star hotel breakfast with the addition of a lot of Asian choice, really nice and the best part......great coffee.

We then head out, two blocks to the right and there we were.......... Tiananmen Square and this is our first taste of 'lining up Chinese style'. Oh if only we'd realised this day that we would never see it so quiet again.

We joined the line for security and in we went, its funny you know but I always thought that the Gate of Heavenly Peace with Mao's picture was 'in' Tiananmen Square, I'd never really notice the wide road between the two. We entered on this side of the road, and entered through this gate. We wandered around for ages, before decided that due to 'long' line (we were to realise, this was NOT a long line) to buy tickets, we would enter the Forbidden City another day.

We had a great walk through Zhongshan park, so peaceful and pretty, and the day was amazing. Crisp and clear blue skies........wanna know a secret? We'd inadvertently booked our trip to coincide with the APEC summit, how happy were we. The factories had been closed down for a week and they'd restricted how many cars could enter the city. Its was fabulous the whole time, yes it added to time in security lines and the eventual shutting down of the main building of Raffles but it was so worth it.

We spent the rest of the day wandering, eventually going in the opposite direction from the hotel into Wangfujing Street which is a fantastic shopping/pedestrian street. We also walked back to our hotel through a wonderful alley way full of local food, WOH.

We ate a very light meal and had drinks in the Writers Bar at Raffles, which is a bit special, then just had a lazy evening in the lounge enjoying the hospitality (i.e. drinks and snacks )

So a lovely first day in Beijing........here are the photos from day 1.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/104632523@N07/sets/72157648954344610/

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