The Volkers were here: Beijing!

After a pretty fantastic time spent showing the family how I had been living for 6 months and exploring Seoul with them it was time to move on to our next destination together,  Beijing!

The trip didn't start out as smoothly as hoped for, well for me at least. Leaving the day Chuseok started in Korea meant pretty much everyone and their uncles dog was at the airport that morning. The rest of the family left from Gimpo, another airport in Seoul, so they had didn't have as much trouble leaving Korea. To cut a long story short, the delay meant I missed the connection in Shenyang in China and got on the next available flight to Beijing, which ended up being 9 hours later than expected :| Not ideal..

Even though we missed a day of exploring we still managed to visit a bunch of different sites. We started with Tienanmen square and the Forbidden City. It was great to see so much cultural history in one place. Mao's mausoleum unfortunately wasn't open for viewing in the square that day so no creepy old dictator dead body viewing for us but it was still a really interesting place to be at. The size of the Forbidden City was insane and the stories behind what happened there are never ending too. Its great to be able to be in a place and learn its history at the same time so I tried my best to understand the history of the different dynasty's throughout Beijing but jeepers the amount of information that goes with them proved to be a little more than my brain could handle in a day.
Starfish, taratulas, snakes, and cockroaches at Wangfujing night market
Our Great Wall trip included a visit to the Ming Tombs, lunch at a Jade factory and a trip to a silk factory too. The Great Wall was something else! It was pretty incredible to be standing on it and walking along it like its no big deal. We managed to get a day with perfect weather too! It really made the views from the lookout towers kind of postcard perfect. Blue sky and mountains for days. We got  to toboggan down the mountain on the way down too, so much fun!
Some other things we did included visiting the Yonghe, or Lama Temple as its known today, which was once home to a large number of Tibetan Buddhist monks. We got lost for a couple of hours at The Temple of Heaven and fitted in a whole day of shopping at the silk street market, because what would a trip to Beijing be without having shouting matches with shop attendants to get the best deal on sweet sweet cheap as chips knockoffs! Brother went home with about 5 pairs of shoes, no lies.
Throwing coins for luck at Lama Temple
All in all Beijing was really great. I mean don't get me wrong it isn't the cleanest city I've been to and yes it is true, mothers do let their babies poo in the streets (forever scarred) but the cultural history and the sights outweigh all of that! If sightseeing is your thing, and there is a ton to see, then Beijing is your place!

Some videos I made using Roadmovies:

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