Beijing Bell & Drum Towers

Clearly life has gotten the best of me & 4 months have gone by since I landed back in the USA {{HOW HAVE 4 MONTHS GONE BY ALREADY???}} and I'm just now getting around to finishing my last 2 days in Beijing. 

July 12, 2016

Don't get me wrong, there were tons, TONS of things I didn't get to do in Beijing, but many of them were going to require more time than what an exhausted Tracy had remaining on the day we returned from hiking & sleeping on the, we took it easy for the afternoon and checked off a couple last minute places within the city limits and enjoyed soaking up my last couple hours of exploring and living in Asia.

When I went to Tokyo, Japan earlier this year it was officially my first time ever traveling alone ALONE to a foreign country without knowing anyone when I stepped off the plane. Japan was country number one, and since I obviously survived, China quickly followed as country number two. Since I was traveling alone I became even more regretful for meeting great friends along the way through my overnight on the Great Wall!  Cameron & John ( from Connecticut) had an early flight the day we returned from the Wall so sadly we had to part ways with them, but Raphael from California, Lauren from the UK, Amy an Englisher living in New Zealand & I hit it off well and since we were all traveling solo, we spent much of the remainder of our times in China traveling and eating together...ok, let's be honest, I really do more eating than anything while I travel! 

This last post on Beijing is going to be more of a picture dump than a lovingly written out 7 page blog post, but I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I loved and treasured my time in China!

The day after our big hike, we awoke around 4:30 am with the sun rising, the birds chirping, and our adrenaline pumping...we were waking up and starting our day on THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA! We were scheduled to begin our decent back the wall around 7:30 that morning, so that left us a good 2-3 hours to pack our things and of course, go for a morning hike. The 6 of us hiked to the end of the wall where the military had put up fencing to block hikers, about 0.5 miles from our campsite, and after  absorbing the last of the views and pinching ourselves one last time to make sure what we were seeing was really true, we packed our bags, loaded our gear onto our backs, and began our climb down. Another 2.5 hours in the van later, along with several MUCH deserved naps, and we were back in Beijing, and the heart of China. 

The 6 of us traded contact info, headed back to our hotels, showered, and were back together before we knew it to spend the afternoon sightseeing around Beijing some more!

{{first stop, the Beijing Bell Tower, built in 1272, this tower was used both for time keeping as well as musical instrument of sorts}}

{{the building was located just south of the forbidden city in the heart of Beijing}}

{{just as Lauren & I got to the tower we heard the bells begin to ring...we began to rush to the top of the tower...needless to say, these steps were NOT a welcome sight after climbing the Wall earlier this morning}}

{{we mad it just in miss the show...luckily we went back up about 30 minutes later with Raphael & Amy and caught the show the 2nd time around}}

{{out of the original 25 drums (1 large & 24 small) only the large one remains and replicas of the smaller ones have been added}}

{{click above for a quick listen to the sounds of the drum tower}}

{{directly across from the drum tower is the Beijing Bell Tower also constructed in 1272 the tower has a huge painted bell at the top}}

{{views from the bell tower...look closely to spot the Forbidden City}}

{{after climbing & touring the 2 towers it was clearly snack time...and these fresh fruit popsicles more than hit the spot!}}

{{ popsicle & warm yogurt drink}}

{{and after snack...clearly it's lunch time!...egg rolls && appatizers all around to share}}

{{I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new food...but when you name your restaurant "Wang Pang Zi Donkey Burger" and boast of selling donkey burgers...I just have to laugh and shank my head NO thanks!}}

{{east meets west...asian arches framing a starbucks down the street!}}

{{clearly 3 hours after lunch we are famished again and ready for dinner...we spent the afternoon hunting around for a peking duck restaurant (did you really visit Beijing if you didn't eat peking duck?!) it must have been a legit peking duck restaurant as not a single waitress in the place spoke english, so we had to rely on our 50 some page menu filled with pictures and MY Chinese skills [aka terrible!] to order dinner for the 5 of us...including 1 whole duck}}

{{and when I say whole duck, I mean WHOLE duck...they cut the head off in front of you!}}

{{and it was SO worth it! peking duck is served in what I called duck tacos. You are given a super thin wrapper that resemble tortillas that is made from wheat, roasted duck, green onions & cucumber spears along with a fermented soybean sauce to dip your meat in. You roll everything up into the tiniest taco you ever did see and enjoy 1, 2, 3...ok, WAY too many of them!}}