Beijing cont………

Although Beijing allowed a revisit to gratitude, I never take any of this for granted.  More often than not, the places I travel to defy my ability to describe them yet they have offered me such a rich, soul-felt experience by providing far more sustenance than food (or gin) could ever offer.

I never want to lose the wonder and curiosity I find in travelling.  Arriving somewhere new without expectation or being in the very place I saw so many many years ago as a child flipping through a National Geographic magazine.

An eternal optimist, I know 2020 will be no different and I fully intend to continue to lift my camera lens, my eyes and my heart to every single moment this quite magical world has to offer……

Beijing Part II

There is a richness to this city in both the old and the new.

We saw the most stunning of ancient architecture, history, culture and markets and equally witnessed a progressive megacity boasting the world’s biggest airport which runs like a well oiled machine.

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Although the heat was at times exhausting, walks through the city were a continual reward.

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I took hundreds and hundreds of photos but can only use so many yet the memories of standing in long slow lines, sardined alongside locals and tourists to view the Forbidden City and to set foot upon the hallowed slabs of concrete which pave Tieanamen Square, the walks around the bygone era’d Hutong districts with its decaying beauty and those frantic, busy and noisy markets remain.

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Favorites while in Beijing

Stay:  A blissful refuge to lay your head is the luxurious NUO Hotel. Unsurpassed in service and elegance together with its location in the arts district, this beautiful hotel surpasses 5 star excellence.

Culinary delight of the journey  It would be so easy to say everything but perhaps one of my favorites was Jian Bing.  A cheap little crepe which cost under $1USD and purchased at unassuming hole-in-the-walls.  One of China’s most popular early morning dishes and straight off a hot grill filled with egg, fresh coriander and spring onion, hoisin sauce and mustard pickles this little snack is crunchy yet soft and fluffy and very, very delish.  Sometimes, it really is just the simple things in life…….

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Trip highlight:  Holy cats!  So very difficult to pinpoint one particular moment as they were all equally memorable but a highlight for me was the quiet book section at the Panjiayuan flea market.

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The Forbidden City, the Great Wall, train travel with the locals – this is a great way to get around as it is very clean, safe and cheap – crisp crab-apples coated in liquid sugar and skulking around old market places. Beijing has left an indelible mark upon my internal travel mapped heart…….x

Beijing…….

Part I

I only wish I were a better story teller in order to share how magnificently wondrous, bold and truly profound Beijing is.

Our days there were all worthy of the title once in a lifetime moment and even under the often present blanket of smog, this ancient city held an earnest charm not easily forgotten.

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Every morning I threw open the gauze curtains and lifted the block-out shades to watch the city wake.   It was during these quiet mornings I embraced a new breakfast ritual of delicate tea and sweet, gently fuzzed local peaches.

By nature I’m a bit of a coffee fiend but drinking these lovely teas, made from the finest of leaf from plantations across China, was a signature highlight of our trip.  There really was no better way to start the day.

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My one wish while in Beijing was to walk upon the Great Wall.

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I won’t sugar coat this as it was a challenging climb yet for all its difficulty, it was the most rewarding hike I have ever done.  I took breaths of paper thin air, often succumbed to the early morning heat and struggled with the steep steps and inclines yet I soaked up everything I possibly could in an effort to carry a tiny piece of that incredible day back home with me.

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327315339285283307After the walk I was ravenous, and how better complete the day than enjoy plates of steaming dumplings with my big ol’ dumpling.

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Eat Beijing

The golden thread which holds this amazing city together is food.  We tried anything and everything, rolled succulent Peking duck pancakes one after the other, tried classic Imperial dishes to humble local bowls and indulged in golden egg tarts.

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Add to that the famous Beijing boiled lamb tripe, hand-pulled noodles, street food in the Hutong district, boiled mutton and exquisite cakes and pastries and our holiday food hit list was complete.

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When you colour co-ordinate your outfit to match your favorite food vendor…….

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We also had the best pizza ever in a tiny corner of the city. The Great Leap Brewing Company not only serves up fantastic craft beers but the pizza was A-mazing!!……and you will not often hear me say that of pizza.

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I think I will be forgiven for not ordering this dish…….

Drink Beijing

Tea.  Tea.  Tea.

Tsingtao – pure delight when combating the heat of Beijing.

Craft Beer –  treacley stouts, porters, pilsners, IPA’s, pale ales, lagers, saisons…….. the craft beer scene in China has taken off.  While in Beijing, the Great Leap Brewing Company became our ‘local’ and rightly so due to the world class beers they have on tap.  Using local ingredients such as Sichuan peppercorns, silver needle tea and locally grown hops these guys know the market and they know how to brew.  For beer and food they get a 10/10.

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Cocktails – we stayed at the luxurious NUO Hotel and enjoyed cocktail hour at the O’Bar.  With its huge outdoor terrace encompassing stunning views of the city together with its oriental glamour this bar is a true city gem.

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More glimpses into the magic that was Beijing to follow…….x