Here are views from our hotel window. It was a Crown Plaza, very 5 star and quite nice.
The view to the left (above) and to the right (below).
Below is the big arena they nick-named "The Birds Nest" from Olympic games.
I'm a terrible blogger. I can't keep all these things in order. It's backwards, you know. So, recap of day one in Beijing (on two hours of rest in the hotel upon arrival on Sunday night/Monday morning):
First Stop, Temple of Heaven. My camera was too cold or something and not working. There's photos on the video we have, though. We walked through lots of grounds and trees and icy walkways. There were people doing Tai Chi in the park--all bundled up just like we were. There were also couples (mostly older ones) dancing a waltz-type dance in the park. It was a fairly long little walk through the grounds to get to the buildings. The Temple of Heaven was a round building, there was a court yard and other rectangular ones, too. I think the walk's length was kind of surprising to Berenice. She was tired out already! But she never complained. Crossing the street was tricky, too. Lots of traffic, very little regard for rules. Actually, I read in one guide book, "Traffic rules in China are Vague and generally ignored." True.
Second stop: Jade Factory tour. This was mostly a shopping stop. We looked, did not buy (but some did in our group). It was very expensive.
Third Stop: Ming Tombs.
Fourth Stop: Lunch. Chinese Food! Imagine that! It was good and we ate lots of it.
Fifth stop: Great Wall
Sixth stop: The Birds's nest for pictures.
Then a quick trip to the hotel for a bathroom break and to drop off our one member who had become quite ill at this point. She didn't come to dinner with us. We postponed our special Peking duck meal until she could join us.
Dinner somewhere, I don't recall.
Bedtime was early because we were beat!
The hardest thing about this whole trip was NOT USING THE WATER FOR TEETH-BRUSHING! Honestly, I had to go into camping mode whenever I did that little chore that is SO easy with running tap water. But it was a no-no. We could wash and shower in it, but not brush teeth, rinse or wet toothbrushes or mouth with it. So it was bottled water for that. In a cup. It was just hard to remember. We drank bottled water all the time, and I never quite had enough, quite frankly. And we always has Sprite at all our meals. The other options were beer or Coca Cola. So-- no water, no ice. It wasn't awful, but ice in the cups would have been nicer.