Beijing: Travel Experience

Kirsten HStarred Page By Kirsten H, 7th Aug 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Asia>China>Beijing & Around

My travel experience to Beijing China. A beautiful must see desitnation

Beijing China--beautiful

When I first stepped onto the plane on my way to Beijing I was both nervous and excited. It was the first time I would be away from my family for such a long period of time. I was headed with my best friend to run a half marathon on The Great Wall of China. We had decided to sign up and go on an adventure halfway around the world.

Fourteen hours later we got off the plane; the flight was not as bad as I had expected. We were met with ten other travelers running the marathon with us, all with the Marathon Tours Group.

http://www.marathontours.com/index.cfm/page/Home

Everyone was mixed with eagerness and exhaustion as we boarded the tram to get our luggage. I had always thought New York City was crowded, but Beijing soon showed that NYC was a walk in the park compared to Beijing.

Once we reached our hotel we were able to relax for about an hour and the itinerary began for our six day stay in Beijing. Beijing is exactly twelve hours ahead from E.S.T. while we were heading off to dinner; it was 6 a.m. on our ‘body clock’. This is brilliant on the tour group’s part, keep us busy all day every day and you won’t get tired.

The next morning we were up early with a 6 a.m. wake up call. Each morning we were served a delicious Western breakfast to start the day. Every day is filled with activities as we board the bus with our fellow marathoners. One of the best parts of the tours was meeting people who had the same passion for running and staying healthy.

5K check of The Wall

Running the marathon was now looming in our mind as we had to wake up early two mornings before the marathon for the two hour drive to The Great Wall. They require all runners to inspect the wall to make sure they are ready for the race. You have a choice of running a 5K, 10K half or full marathon; after walking the wall surprisingly most people change the race distance to a longer challenge.

The sights

We saw many of the must see sites of Beijing, including Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world; better known for the students protesting in 1989. Chills went up my spine at the thought of standing in a spot where so many needless deaths occurred. Forbidden City, is just a short walk away has architecture that too gorgeous to put in words. As you walk through the city you see many older adults mingling and having a great time. There were many ballroom dancing, playing mahjong, singing and doing Tai Chi. The Forbidden City is the location where many famous movies have been filmed, including The Last Emperor.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093389/

Hutong

You quickly learn as a Westerner to carry around your own packs of Kleenex, and the toilets are essentially a hole in the ground.
Other highlights included The Temple of Heaven and the Lama Temple. The architecture is equally as stunning, each room more beautiful than the last. We discovered the rooms required you to step over a small boarder; this was to keep ghosts at bay. In China ghosts are believed to be small and cannot jump over the barriers. One of my favorite parts of the tour was the rickshaw ride through Hutong, the old part of Beijing.

The marathon

The day of the marathon came and I don’t think nervous encompasses my feelings that day. During the inspection I had a panic attack from fear of heights, looking down the uneven stairs with nothing to hold onto was the most frightened I had been.

My adrenaline soon kicked in as I started with my best friend and several women I had met along our tour. The scenes were beyond spectacular, and the thought of competing in a race that so few people have done was exhilarating. 3,700 steps were taken, as you step off the wall into Yin Yang Square. The race trail took you into the small village in Tianjin Province, seeing the local culture and how different people live was remarkable. The small brick buildings the children running happily through the streets and the rocky trails we had to navigate. Nothing can describe crossing the finish line, the sense of accomplishment; I was in tears of joy and sadness. I had done this race to honor my father who suffers from Lewy Body Dementia http://www.lbda.org/ .

Beijing is an amazing city, one I would recommend everyone to visit and tour the stunning sites, amazing architecture and enjoy every minute of it. This is a place everyone should put on their bucket list. If you are one for adventure, the marathon is amazing, one of the greatest challenges for many.

Tags

Beijing, China, Marathons, Travel Tips

Meet the author

author avatar Kirsten H
I am a freelance writer who has written for local magazines and am expanding my portfolio to the web. I enjoy putting my thoughts on paper, or computer nowadays!

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