Last November I was in China for professional reasons and therefore had the chance to explore Beijing for a couple of days before going straight to Madrid for another face to face period of my MBA programme. The first Global Conference on Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Education was hosted in Nanjing, however I had the opportunity to relax and enjoy Beijing for 3 days after this major project.
Due to time constrains I didn’t have much time to visit all the places that I wanted but at least I managed my way around the city visiting some of the highlights. It’s not easy to go around as the population don’t speak English, but we could perfectly understand each other with gestures and mimic. That’s the beauty of human nature. Pack yourself with patience and some snacks as the city is incredibly BIG! Every building or square are so big and impressive, which requires a lot of time to visit everything and to go from one place to another.
Food wise, as I like to experiment new flavours I was fascinated about the food stoles and markets around the city, but I warn you, you never really know what you’re eating. I tried cockroaches and it tastes like chicken. It was quite an experience, but one has to be brave and embrace new challenges!
I stayed in a fantastic hotel very close to the Forbidden City, very central and comfortable to relax after a busy day visiting the city. The highlight of this hotel was the L’occitane Spa and so I met many french tourists there. The staff was extremely thoughtful and caring.
In terms of safety, on my first day I travelled with another girl, friend of mine, but then I was by myself. I have to say that I always felt safe, many police on the streets, but one has to be careful with backpack and personal belongings. The new scam is kids trying to take your watch or wallet, while pretending that they want to get closer to simply compliment you. It happened to me, but I understood immediately sand nothing happened.
I definitely want to go back to China and visit other cities, it’s a very enriching experience and I was positively surprised to understand how open minded the new generations are. We often think “Oh there’s no Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, etc in China” but guess what… being there made me realise that they don’t even need it. The Chinese version of these apps is outstanding!
Polution and smog are major public health concerns and after 3 days I could already feel the pain in my throat, which sadly shows the China’s struggle between economic growth and public health hazards.
In Beijing I visited:
- Great Wall of China– Still one hour ride from the city centre.
- Forbidden City – The Palace Museum. Used to be the home of the Emperor and his 300 wives.
- Tiananmen Square – With the national museum, Great Hall of the People and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong very close by.
- Temple of Heaven.
- Jingshan Park – Offers great views to the Forbidden City and hosts the central point of Beijing.
- 789 Art District – Amazing complex of old factories transformed into contemporary art galleries.
- Wangfujing Shopping street and Food Market – Loved the food market and the shopping street is insane. I’ve never seen some many shopping malls in one street.
- Donghuamen Night Market – another great food market.
- Silk Market – Mainly for letter and silk goods and handicraft.
Hope you enjoy!