I always liked dragons. Especially the dragons of the East, which are far more associated with luck and joy than the mostly beastly depicted western dragons.
Naturally, I took the opportunity to visit the land of the dragons when I got the chance to present my work at a conference in Beijing. The trip started already fantastic before I even left Germany, ’cause the little princess gave me a guardian angel for safe travels. How cute and loving is that from a four year old? Heartfelt thanks to Emily for this special present, deeply appreciated!
Beijing is a big city. Big and busy. As in Bogotá and Bangkok, adjusting to the mass of people and sense impression was a bit difficult. However, being in the land of the dragons and actually being one myself according to the Chinese zodiac, I was lucky and met Mathias from Rostock at the conference. We spent a few days with sightseeing and enjoying some local food (as well as some not so local frozen cappuccinos). Thanks Mathias for being my (almost ;-) perfect city guide!
Beijing is full of sights & history: Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, just to mention a few. However, I spent most time strolling the vibrant city (or relaxing from it in a nice cafe or my hostel). Found some beautiful old hutongs, where time seems to tick at a slightly different pace. Got a glimpse into the city live aside the touristic attractions, and enjoyed an awesome tea tasting in the Wujun Tea Shop. I was walking along a big big street in the outskirts of Beijing that was entirely dedicated to tea (small tea shops, big tea shops, tea malls for a few kilometers) when Chen invited me to the tea shop of her mother. Where I was treated with fantastic hospitality and enjoyed some very good tea. Thanks Chen for the nice talk, the good tea and the great hospitality of you and your mother!
A good way to escape the bustling city was a hiking trip to the Great wall of China, located 1 & 1/2 hours outside of Beijing. We started the hike at a restored part of the wall in heavy fog. Quite mystically. But a bit disappointing too, as we could not see much of the wall, that is supposed to be ranged along the ridge lines as far as the eye can see. Nevertheless, together with my hiking partner Kjetil form Norway we made it all the way to the more rugged part of the wall. There, the fun started! Shortly before we had to return, the fog lifted and we got a perfect view of the wall.
The wall is amazing! And alone worth a visit to China! Thanks to Kjetil for being such a great hiking partner and for exploring all the way into the fun part of the wall. Wohooo!
That’s it from China. Greetings to all of you from the joy dragons, Michael