According to my guidebook breathing the air in Beijing is as bad for you as smoking 70 a day. I can't remember ever seeing blue sky all the time I was there. It took a while to recover from the sleepless 15 hour slow train journey and the fact I had lay funny on my arm and could hardly move it for a week.
The hostel was only 5 minutes walk from the forbidden city so that seemed a logical place to start. It was obviously packed out full of people but it was also an interesting place with plenty to see.
Went for a walk round Tiananmen square one evening, seen loads of police and security you even have to put your bags through an X-Ray machine just to walk round the square.
As the hostel was booked up solid I had to move elsewhere, only 10 minutes walk but with the messing about repacking and unpacking again a bit of a pain I could have done without. Headed out to the palace in the afternoon but got lost after getting off the underground. By the time I got on the right track it was nearly closing time so I didn't bother.
The new hostel was good and social, we often sat outside talking over some of the very cheap beer from the nearby shop. One of the girls I later stayed with in Taiwan.
The great wall was obviously the must see thing while there. It was a 3 hour bus ride away from the main part of the city.
To get to the actual wall involved a cable car ride to the top which was good in itself.
The two biggest fears I had going to visit the wall were being pestered by vendors and also massive crowds of people. However the cable car had the effect of stringing all the people out so for a lot of the time it was just small groups of people. As for the vendors there was only a fraction of what I expected and they had the brains to sell things that people actually want.........like cold drinks.
Some parts of the wall were very steep and uneven. It was hard going even for a fit walker like myself. If the sun had been beating down I would have been in big trouble. The walk along the wall was about 6 miles in total.
I remember being very tired when I got back into the city..............
The last main thing I seen before leaving mainland China was the summer palace. The thick fog prevented any good pictures.
At that point I could have easily spent another 2 months in China as it is such a massive country but the one month tourist visa was quickly running out. With the trains booked up I had no choice but to get a flight to Hong Kong where I had a cousin and an old family friend.
Apart from 10% of internet sites being blocked (all the ones I wanted to use) China was a great country to visit.