September 10, 2009 GMT
China

So with the bike no more, I made it to Beijing, a big change from Ulan Bataar! It turns out that contrary to popular belief leaving a motorbike in Mongolia is actually very easy. If your reading this and need to know how, get in touch. Beijing is huge, very busy, and littered with amusing translations, which will now litter this blog since I found it funny!

100_1375.JPG

First stop in Beijing was the Forbidden City, watched over at the main gate as always by Chairman Mao. It was very busy, as is everywhere in China it seems!

100_1382.JPG

Iíve never seen so many umbrellas with clear blue skies and bright sunshine. The Chinese have taken the sun protection message much more to their hearts than any other culture Iíve come across.

100_1386.JPG

This stone bridge and pavilion are typical of the main halls of the Forbidden City. They all have separate names and different uses in the days when the city was really forbidden.

100_1387.JPG

They get bigger and more impressive, surrounded by large squares.

100_1389.JPG

100_1391.JPG

The detail on each building is really amazing to see. The buildings are constantly being restored and various buildings have been rebuilt over the years as a result of fires.

100_1394.JPG

The park at the north end of the Forbidden City has some impressive buildings of its own.

100_1431.JPG

From there you can see the north gate of the Forbidden City.

100_1432.JPG

And if you climb the hill, fantastic views across Beijing, including over the rooftops of the Forbidden City.

100_1440.JPG

Be careful of falling down laughing when climbing the hill though, due to Chinglish. Confucius say...

100_1447.JPG

Next day I headed to another of Beijingís tourist hotspots, the Summer Palace. As the name suggests China was run from here during the summer as it was thought cooler than the city. Seemed pretty damn hot to me when I was there but thereís no doubt it would be a nice place to have as your private home! Hereís a selection of the sights...

100_1463.JPG

100_1477.JPG

100_1480.JPG

100_1496.JPG

100_1500.JPG

100_1502.JPG

100_1526.JPG

100_1557.JPG

All the ancient architecture was giving me a thirst for the modern, so I headed to the site of the Beijing Olympics. I was pretty disappointed by the Water Cube, the site of the swimming events. Apparently it is a lot more spectacular at night when it is lit up.

100_1578.JPG

I preferred the Birdís nest stadium, although the smog on the day dulled the effect somewhat. I reckon they should have chrome plated it to give it some bling!

100_1586.JPG

This is the most controversial new building in Beijing, the still in construction China television HQ. I thought that the architecture was great, but not everyone agrees. One guy came up to me in the street and started a rant about how it looks like a pair of shorts and that I shouldnít take pictures of it because itís so ugly!

100_1592.JPG

Not as ugly as the bit next door though, which they managed to burn down by accident during new year firework celebrations before it was ever occupied.

100_1595.JPG

This is Ritan Park, itís a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of Beijing.

100_1612.JPG

Itís also the site of some more cracking Chinglish!

100_1615.JPG

I needed to get some souvenirs so I went to the famous antiques market (which doesnít seem to have many antiques) to try out me haggling skills! They sell all sorts, this stall was full of swords.

100_1622.JPG

The Chinese seem to enjoy a nap whenever possible. Being in the middle of a very busy marketplace didnít bother this guy at all!

100_1623.JPG

Thereís no going to Beijing and not heading to the Great Wall. I had another foggy day but the wall has a certain mystique in that type of weather.

100_1641.JPG

There is also important and sage advice for visitors.

100_1656.JPG

I was lucky enough to come across an ancient ritual being carried out on the wall while I was there. Or it could just be some lads creating their own Ďhilariousí photo opportunity!

100_1665.JPG

Next stop was the Temple of Heaven, more Ming architecture....

100_1702.JPG

This one was a change from the usual halls and pavilions for peace, meditation, glory etc.

100_1712.JPG

For some reason the Animal Killing pavilion is the preferred location to play cards.

100_1713.JPG

After that I went to Tiananmen Square

100_1717.JPG

But Chairman Mao hall (with his body in it) was shut.

100_1718.jpg

Not so the Drum Tower, used as a way of keeping time in imperial China.

100_1743.JPG

It neighbour is the Bell Tower, which was also used to let people know the time and well as warn of impending invasion.

100_1744.JPG

The underground is really good in Beijing, there are signs for everything.

100_1766.JPG

On my last full day in Beijing I finally got to try Peking (Beijing?) Duck. Iím told that you havenít been to Beijing until youíve tried it!

100_1767.JPG

Just time for one last instruction, before leaving Beijing for LA.

100_1768.JPG

Posted by David Newman at 04:08 AM GMT
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events

 

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.



Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!