Day 20–Sun. Oct. 16, 2011- Beijing, PRC

     We had  an early start to our day with a buffet breakfast with mostly Chinese food.  The omelet station opened a little later, so we had eggs.  My first omelet was not cooked, so I went back for fried eggs.  Sure do miss the Amsterdam Lido!  We checked out, and before they would release the bill, they had a maid check the room to make sure we didn’t take anything that was for sale.  Our passports were released when the last pair checked out.

     There was a marathon in Tiananmen Square, so we went to the Temple of Heaven first.  Built in 1420, it is the best preserved and largest sacrificial building complex in the world.  It seems on every tour we see the “largest” or “tallest”.  The entrance was loaded with vendors.  Families were out enjoying the day.  Many were doing Tai Chi or dancing.  I joined one of the dance groups doing a line dance.  Ray played Tai Tennis with a local.  Many Chinese people want to have their picture taken with us.  Feel like a movie star!

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The different temples have lots of stairs.  The Emperors liked the # 9 because it was the biggest number.  Ray took pictures from the bottom and I took them from the top.  We wave so you can find us.

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  We then went to a silk factory and then to lunch.  After lunch we headed for Tiananmen Square, the biggest downtown square of the world.  It was built by Mao and the quadrangle covers nearly half a square mile.  Unfortunately we walk down the street side and not the middle, so we missed Mao’s tomb.  They changed the square a bit since 2007.  We then went to the Forbidden City, also called Palace Museum.  It was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties built in the early part of the 15th century and features more than 9,000 rooms.  The royal palace sprawls across 165 acres.  It is the world’s largest palace complex.  Again, it is just amazing to see.

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I am not that good at writing about the sites we see, but I was given this site:   It is written by a couple in the Cruise Critic group.  When I get home I will have to read it.  You might enjoy it now.  I am writing this on Friday, Oct. 21, so I am a little behind and can’t remember everything!

     We finished our tour and it was a little early so our guide asked if we would like to do a tea ceremony.  Of course a few said yes, but the rest of us wanted to get back to the ship.  It is a good thing we left right away as we got stuck in traffic again.  We got back to the ship about 7:30 pm.  All aboard was at 9 pm.  We had dinner in the Lido.

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     There was a movie in the Wajang Theater, Midnight in Paris, but we were too tired to go see it.  We had a wonderful two days in Beijing.  I don’t remember if I posted this yesterday, but our tour cost $165 per person.  The ship’s tour was $849 per person and the ship’s tour included a Peking duck dinner.

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