Skip to content

Beijing Rocks!

Simple Living China - BeijingLast weekend we made a fast trip to Beijing.

Took the fast train (300 km an hour) for the 400 km trip Friday after classes and explored for 2 days.

So fun!

A few years ago we studied Chinese history in our homeschool studies and the kids learned about the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.  It was all stories back then…

…. but last weekend they were standing on history!

The school schedule here is pretty crazy and there are only 3 holiday days in the whole semester. The vacation days are all together (next week) and everyone travels during this time.  From what I understand it is the equivalent of Labor Day in the states, just a holiday for people to get time off work.

Originally we had planned to visit Beijing during this holiday but everyone told us it would be way to busy.  I have been told that tourism is bigger in China than the states and I could believe it.  Everyone is traveling next weekend!

So, when the opportunity came up to visit Beijing with some friends this past weekend, we grabbed it.  

With a weather fluke we left Friday evening in a snow storm… just a random 4 hour snow storm in the middle of April.  But after that the weather was beautiful.

The weekend was full of fabulous food, great sights, and fun company.  Let me share with you the highlights:

Simple Living China - Beijing

On Saturday, after a wonderful Chinese breakfast at the hotel we explored the Forbidden City.  Even though this is a huge place, and on a non-holiday weekend, it was still packed with people.  This picture is in the inner court on the steps to the Hall of Union.  From what we understood it was the building between where the man lived/worked (Palace of Heavenly Purity) and where the woman lived/worked (Palace of Earthly Tranquility).

Though they had a few different uses during the time the Forbidden City was being used, even the Chinese realized that women are more ‘down to earth’.  🙂

Forbidden City - Simple Living China - BeijingThis is a large bowl in the Forbidden City.  I’m not sure the significance because there was very little English interpretation through the city.  If you know about it, I would love to hear!

Simple Living ChinaTo the north was Tiananmen square.  I am not sure this picture turned out that well, but it is proof we were there.  Beyond the fact that it is an important place, it wasn’t that exciting.  It is located right beside the Forbidden City so it is easy to see both.

Simple Living China - BeijingIn the afternoon we went to the Temple of Heaven.  It is a few subway stops away from the Forbidden City but built around the same time.  It was where the Emperor prayed and made sacrifices for a good harvest.

In this picture Ian is standing in the middle of the Circular Mound Altar.  It is claimed that when you stand on this stone and speak your voice sounds different because of the shape of the stones all around.  We weren’t able to find out because of the crowds of people there.   We just got lucky for this picture because the kids are small enough to squeeze on to the stone in the middle of the crowds.

Simple Living China - BeijingThis picture is on the way to the altar.  It is hard to see from the picture but the path down the middle (where the kids are standing) is taller than the walkway on both sides.  It was the path that the emperor took.  …. and it is always fun to feel important enough to walk on the special higher path 🙂

Simple Living China - Beijing

Please notice the amazing chopstick skills instead of the awkward smile 🙂

In the evening we hit the fancy shopping and eating street.  These were really spicy noodles from one of the provinces down south.  We also managed to score fries and poutine, and churros, so it was quite the foodie street.

I also found a super cool gift… but because friends and family read the blog too… I can’t say.

Simple Living China - Beijing

Sunday was The Great Wall. Though it could have been almost twice as cool if it weren’t for the crowds of people, it still rocked!  We walked up to that building on the top right.  This is the big tourist spot on the wall and sometime it might be cool to see some of the less common areas.

Simple Living China - BeijingWe got the kids ‘metals’ as proof of the climb to add to their memory boxes at home.  It is hard to see but it says ‘I climbed the Great Wall’ and has their names and the date.

They both have Chinese names and the guy carved both names on the plaque.  … sometime when I can get help I will try and explain their Chinese names and show you the symbols.  Their writing is art and I have no idea how to make my keyboard make the symbols.

Simple Living China - BeijingFinally, here are our super amazing guides and friends.  They are so stinking cute!  It has been such a blessing to find them.  Nina is going to be taking a masters program in the UK next year and Trey will be taking a fancy computer masters down in Austin Texas.  They are both brilliant and sweet 🙂  Even though we have only known them for a few weeks it will be hard to see them leave in a few months.

So that was our trip to Beijing.  It is a huge, but awesome city.  The public transportation can be extremely crowded, but isn’t that hard to navigate and costs almost nothing.

It was a fun place for the touristy thing but we are pretty glad we live outside in our small city.  The big things are fun to see, but wandering small markets and exploring the mountains is easy and close to where we are now.

In other news

Something pretty exciting is coming up next week.  Find out more on Monday!


  1. anuradha anuradha

    Amazing postt!!! Thank you!!! 😀

  2. Grand Grand

    Thank you for sharing this intriguing trip. This is the closest I shall every get to the Great Wall and I enjoyed every step your family took.

  3. Jolene Jolene

    I am enjoying reading about your experiences, I have been to China as a tourist twice, so know a lot of what you are talking about, although you are getting “the real thing”. Brings back good memories though, remember the Great Wall well, unlike stairs in the US not easy to get a rhythm going since not uniform size and the arm rail was way too short for most people of American height!!. Keep enjoying your time there.

    • yep, the climb wasn’t easy 🙂 Quite the adventure!

  4. Elizabeth Kane Elizabeth Kane

    This looks like an awesome place to visit! You all look like you’re having a blast. Beautiful pictures, as always 🙂

  5. Nancy Nancy

    WOW. What an exciting adventure thank you so much for sharing your story. The pictures are awesome!!!

  6. Michelle Michelle

    Hello I was in Beijing this time last year! The large iron pots were filled with water as all the buildings are made of wood (No nails or screws!!) they were originally covered in gold but during the second world war the Germans occupied the Forbidden Palace and all the gold was removed. (We had a tour guide!!) China is fascinating if you get the chance go to the Harvest temple it is beautiful and the park it is situated in is an experience.

  7. Michelle Michelle

    * add to that the water was in case of fire.

    • awesome! That makes a lot of sense 🙂 Thanks!

  8. Great post, thanks for sharing. It is one of my dreams to get to visit China. I hope we get to have that experience! Forbidden city and the great wall sounds like fun!

    • yes, China is not easy to get to, but really cool to see 🙂

  9. Laura Laura

    Oh my goodness! I haven’t been on the computer in months (over 6!) and I come back and you’re in Beijing!!!!!


    I’m going to spend the next few hours reading all the past posts.


    • Laura! Hey, how have you been? How have you not been on the computer in over 6 months?

      • Laura Laura

        It was part of a “simple living” thing for me. I wanted to step back and see life away from the screen for a while. It was great. I liked it so much I’m limiting my internet use to an hour a day.

        In 6 months, I’ve almost become a bird expert! (Well, the birds that live around me anyway) I’ve had lots of time and attention to spend learning their songs and what not. It’s been great.

        I’ve missed reading up on you and your family though! Sounds like you guys are really living it up! Good for you! Hi to the kids!

        • Laura, that does sound wonderful. I have been limiting my time on the computer to 2 hours here in China. Between my blog, e-mail, and class planning it makes me be efficient and get off 🙂 Good to hear from you again!

  10. Oh, you make me miss China! I’ve visited twice, and my husband and I lived there for a year once. It is such an amazing place! I just got your book “Simple Living” from the Homemaking Ebundle, and I started working through it this week. I’m excited!

    • Sarah, I have to say I am liking it more than I thought I would. It is an amazing country 🙂

  11. Lorilee,
    I have been to Bejing as well and it was amazing. The big “bowls” all over the Forbidden City that you mentioned are actually vats that were used to store water in the ancient times, for putting out fires. Thing of them as old-time “fire hydrants”, if you will!

Comments are closed.