Well, the last part of this trip was perhaps the most expected one for us.
We anticipated Beijing as the most culturally interesting part of our journey. And that was exactly what we found. We also found a very big and confusing city. But getting there was also an interesting story. We took the train from Beijing Railway Station (that, in opposition to Hongqiao in Shanghai, is a really messy and dirty station).
The train was really comfortable and clean, and our almost 700 yuan got us the "soft-sleeper" beds. And I can say I was quite comfy in my bed. My 4 people cabin was empty for the first segmented (my partners were in the adjacent cabin), but soon the other 3 persons arrived. Soon, the ticket controller lady came to check my ticket and started saying something in Chinese and pointing to the lower bed. I told her that my ticket was more expensive and that they had sold me telling that it was for the upper bed. But, guess what. The most expensive ticket is actually for the lower bed. I told her (through the help of a translator traveler) that if the other person didn't mind, I would prefer the upper bed. So, I managed to stay there and slept almost the entire journey (knowing that I could read a book or watch a movie in my personal screen).
We arrived to Beijing before 8 am and headed to our hotel, hoping that we could check-in early. At the desk, they asked us for another hour to get the room ready, so we walked a bit around the hotel area. It seemed like a corporate district, with few things to see.
I had planned to go to see the Great Wall that afternoon, but I mistakenly got to another metro station, that was instead, near the Summer Palace. So, we spent the afternoon at this nice place. The summer palace is huge, so you can easily spend a whole day there, just to walk around the lake and visit the temple. We rented a nice paddle boat and decided to paddle around the lake. The heat demanded an Ice Cream, so that's what I did.
After our visit to the palace, we went back to the city center and headed to the market, because we needed t-shirts. So, I bought a few.
Back to the hotel, I just went to bed and slept calmly till next day.
Another day, another attempt to go to the Great Wall. We went to the train station, only to learn that most of the trains to Badaling had been taken of the schedule. So, we said "well, still not today, tomorrow will be" and we went to the Lama Temple. Unfortunately, the luck was not on our side, so we got there 4 minutes after closing time. Then, it was plan C, Tiananmen Square. So that's where we went. It is bigger than I thought. It has a imposing atmosphere and the metal detectors give it an even more serious feel. We are stupid enough to fall into a scam by these guys that invited us to take a drink in a bar. At the end, the huge bill was divided by the four of us. Well, next time we'll definitely be aware of such stuff.
That night we went to try the world famous Peking Roast Duck. I must say that it was the most delicious meal I tasted in China and for sure one of the best that I ate in a restaurant. Of course, the wisely chosen (by my ) restaurant was a awarded and high-end place, near our hotel. But, after checking the prices, we went for it and the bill was not that high (in western standards). The service was great and they even offered us a few Kumquat so we could try (and we took home a few, too).