Monday, April 23, 2012

Back from my Beijing Break

The Hubby, Son and I spent 6 days in Beijing this past week. We had a grand time climbing The Great Wall, visiting the Ming Tombs, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City. The only thing missing was the presence of the Daughter (she had school). We plan to go back during the winter months to experience something different. Maybe even visit inner Mongolia! I selected a few photos of our visit to share with you.

Our visit to the MING TOMBS. Beautiful cherry blossoms and crab apple blossoms.

I really loved the flowers!

We went on a full day tour to THE GREAT WALL with two other couples(one from Italy and another from Germany)and had a grand time. Since it's spring, the crowds were not too bad. I hear that in the summer it can get really crowded.

It was really chilly with strong winds blowing (hence the bad hair do!). I think it must have been about 10 deg C. The Son almost became an ice sculpture!

I decided to walk the slightly more challenging route up to the first watchtower while the Hubby and Son attempted the walk to the third watchtower. They apparently didn't make it because it was COLD and quite steep.

Behind us was the less challenging walk so there were more people. As you can see, it was a misty day.

This was the route we walked. Not too many people!

THE FORBIDDEN CITY. It is HUGE!! We only walked the outer courts (where they film the movies) and it took us a long time. When we go back for another visit, we plan to explore the 9,999.5 rooms (at least the ones that are open for visitors)!!

Hair pins worn by the Empress. Beautiful handmade jade pieces.

The Emperor's Throne.

The longest unbroken stone carving that exists in China today. Beautiful workmanship!

The view outside our hotel. Very misty all 6 days of our visit. Visibility was about 1km or less.

THE SUMMER PALACE. It was just after lunch and the crowd was forming.

At the Summer Palace, the Empress Dowager Ci Xi would walk along this corrider after dinner. It's supposed to be the longest in the world, almost 1km.

I absolutely loved the painted designs and intricate artwork on almost everything.

Each section of the corridor had a different painting. It was beautiful!

The marble boat. Yes, completely carved from marble! Exquisite!

THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN. As we walked towards the temple, there were hundreds of people gambling (everyone on right side of the photo were gambling!), many singing and others dancing. Reminds me of an account in the New Testament of the Bible.

I was really excited to be on site at the Temple of Heaven. So much history and architecture.

This was the hall in which the Emperor would make blood sacrifices to the God in Heaven.

What visit would be complete without a trip to the pearl factory?! This is a cultured freshwater mollusc which can yield more than 40 pearls at a time! Note the different colours in one oyster!

A closeup of the oyster. Beautiful pearls! Pearls can be expensive because time is spent sorting them out according to colour, grades and sizes. In order to make a necklace of all the same pearls, it takes quite a while to match them up.

I wanted to show you a large bird's nest in the tree. There were many and the only reason I could see them was because the trees were not filled with leaves yet.

I had heard horror stories of flight delays because of traffic buildup at Capital International Airport. Everything was true! We had to wait for half an hour before take off and there were more than 12 planes behind us (I could only count 12 because visibility was not good!).

So there you have it, a few photos from my trip. Now I'm back to work. And Mothers' Day is coming! If you need special jewelry made for your Mum, do email me. Alternatively, make an appointment to visit my gallery. Lots of ready made one-of-a-kind pieces available!