"Hutongs once dominated the city, but in recent years many have been leveled in the name of modernization." ~ TIME

If you made me choose my favorite experience in Beijing it would be our stay in a...
Walking the small lanes of "our" hutong...
allowed us to live among the locals...
and hang out near their Drum Tower and Bell Tower...
and explore the neighborhood as night falls.
Our lovely hotel offers standard rooms near the restaurant (discussed in a later post)... 
Photo credit:  Orchid Hotel
and refurbished hutong homes a few minutes walk away.
We loved everything about The Orchid.
Meanwhile...the Hutongs provide a very walkable area to get out and explore.
Not always true in other areas of Beijing.
The vibe is welcoming...
and random...
but not surprising.





"Such a divine place was certainly forbidden to ordinary people and that is why the Forbidden City is so named." ~ Chinahighlights.com

Disclaimer:  
After lovely cool-ish days,
we blame the hot day for our decision...
 to have no guide when we visited what is today known as Gugong, Former/Old Palace...
and walked amongst the crowds through the 90 palaces and courtyards...
as quickly as possible.
Sweating affects my listening skills.
The Hall of Supreme Harmony has 10 statuettes representing its status

photo:  Chinahighlights.com
Ren Man kept searching for Hollywood's version of this city on...
Although, there were enough tourist to make this work
 with a little organization.  Ha!
So, please do not let my lack of inspirational photos...
deter you from exploring this past home of 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasty.
The Imperial Garden with its ancient trees...
and rock formations were a private retreat...
for the imperial family.
After being stuck on a bus earlier that morning...
we walked along the moat surrounding the Forbidden City...
under the shade of the weeping willows...
and the eye candy of Spring...
and stumbled across a wedding photo shoot.
A stroll through Beihai Park is a good idea...
and a lovely path to the equally quaint Houhai Lakes area...
where ample choices for food abound.
Sweet potato anyone?


"...Summer Palace was the playground for emperors fleeing the suffocating summer torpor of the old imperial city." ~ Lonely Planet

Spring...
combined with amazing clear skies...
during our visit to Beijing...
only embellished our morning stroll...
throughout the grounds...

of the Summer Palace.
As the willow trees beckoned us to the 17 Arch Bridge...
we walked across the Glittering Kunming Lake...
where boats of all sizes...
await our transport...
to Longevity Hill on the north shore...
where The Marble Boat...
sits fastened in the water to represent the steadfast rule of the Qing dynasty.
The Summer Palace is one of those magical places 
where you find yourself making your way back
 just to linger.








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