April-May 2013, Beijing – Temple of Heaven 天坛

Temple of HeavenBeing probably one of the most famous tourist attractions in Beijing, our upcoming tour to the Temple of Heaven held much excitement for us. Of course, there was a lot to see along the way…

DSC_4634…such as beautiful cherry blossoms, especially when two trees with differing hues stand together. 🙂

Temple of HeavenTemple of HeavenThere’s this wiiiide open space before the actual entrance to the Temple of Heaven area. We quickly discovered that the locals have converted it into an activity area of sorts. If you’ve lived in China for a period of time, you would know that local Chinese, especially the senior citizens, love going out and moving around, dancing, doing taichi, or whatever else. Actually pretty healthy!

Temple of HeavenTemple of HeavenTemple of HeavenI mean, look at this. I’ve seen sipa, and I’ve seen ping-pong, but never the two together. We were all intrigued by this!

Temple of HeavenUpon entering the actual temple compound, we were greeted with more open spaces. A lot of the seemingly “random” objects lying around here actually served some purpose back in the old days. What’s more, this big space with all the structures was made just for the emperor to offer his sacrifices and walk around afterwards. Dayum if someone would make such a grand space for my walks, I’d be one healthy robust walker.

Temple of HeavenTemple of HeavenTemple of HeavenTemple of HeavenTake this green thing, for example. It’s supposed to be one of the many burners the emperor used.

Temple of HeavenTemple of HeavenTemple of HeavenAfter this shot and a few wacky jump shots with my co-teachers (there’s something so appealing about taking fun shots in old, serious places), I looked back, and took more pictures just to remind myself how big this area was.

Temple of HeavenTemple of HeavenTemple of HeavenWe went out from here, and stepped out into a park that would eventually take us into the actual temple. Woohoo!

Temple of HeavenDSC_4689DSC_4679Our co-teacher trying to mimic the lively dance of the senior citizens. Seriously, they have the stamina!

DSC_4690DSC_4691DSC_4695Saw for myself what all the hype about tree-hugging is all about…

DSC_4698DSC_4696DSC_4697GAWWWW I miss them already. Again, the way we got together in spite of our differences in age and thought patterns was amazing, and I had an equally rockin’ time with them as if I had been with my same-age friends. Miss you all!

Temple of HeavenRelax… it’s not this one yet. There’s this cluster of minor temples that have all sorts of ancient stuff inside, like seats and various articles used in the imperial sacrifices.

DSC_4672DSC_4673DSC_4675DSC_4676DSC_4678And here, on the big and mighty gates to the Temple of Heaven, you shall again see what I meant about taking wacky pictures in serious places:

Temple of HeavenTemple of HeavenTemple of HeavenTemple of HeavenOkay, so mostly FAIL. LOL but you didn’t come to see us make a fool out of ourselves, did you?

Temple of HeavenTemple of HeavenYou came to see THIS.

Temple of HeavenTemple of HeavenAlas, on the day that we visited there was none of the striking blue sky and pure white clouds contrasting with the temple itself, but only a murky cloudy day. Would have made for a more stunning picture!

Temple of HeavenTemple of HeavenTemple of HeavenIn this actual Temple of Heaven, they were smart enough to put a tourist guide in the form of an automated speaker that runs every 25 minutes, if I remember it correctly. We didn’t stay for the recording, though, as a lot of people were already crowded in the vicinity.

Temple of HeavenTemple of HeavenTemple of HeavenJust look at the detail inside, will you? Truly fit for an emperor.

Temple of HeavenTemple of HeavenAfter all the seriousness of our visit, our tourist guide had the sense to take us shopping. 前门大街 (Qian Men), here we come!

前门大街前门大街前门大街Aside from 王府井 (Wang Fujing), 前门大街 is like the equivalent of 北京路 (Beijing Lu) in Guangzhou. What I like about this more than the others, though, is how wide the space is. There’s a lot of people, but you hardly felt it because it was so wide, so walking was a pleasure. I also liked how it kept its stone building façade no matter what the store was. Quite pretty!

前门大街前门大街前门大街前门大街Here they have a branch of 全聚德 (Quan Ju De), which according to locals is the most famous duck restaurant in Beijing. When we passed by at this particular time, they had a booth on their first floor selling whole ducks and ducks with most of the meat gone (how do you call them?) for crazy cheap prices. Good ducks, hard to come by!

DSC_4738We couldn’t exactly bring a whole duck back to our hotel, so co-teacher Berber and I settled for good ol’ Haagen-Dazs. 🙂

DSC_4739DSC_4740

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