After a far too short night of sleep, today we set off fairly early in the morning to tour the historical sites of Beijing with our group. We opened the curtains of our hotel room to find the world outside blanketed in snow! Talk about a surprise! Our guide told us this has been Beijing's first snowfall of the year. The snow was certainly beautiful and gave a different look to places we have seen previously on our other adoption trips. But it also made for a cold and slippery day walking around Beijing.
Our group of 10 families set off from the hotel lobby at 9 AM with our first stop at Tiananmen Square. We walked the length of it seeming the tomb of Chairman Mao, a monument to the people's heroes, and the Great Hall of the People. The people around us were having a lot of fun enjoying the snow. We even saw a snowman!
At the end of the square, is the entrance to the Forbidden City. Here is the famous shot with Mao's photo hanging on the wall there.
We spent about an 1 hour and a half walking the length of the Forbidden City. It was very beautiful with the snow but also very slick in places.
From the Forbidden City, we went to visit a traditional neighborhood in Beijing. These areas are known as Hutong Neighborhoods and individuals who live there are able to invite people into their homes in exchange for money. To get to the home we were visiting, we rode through the neighborhood on rickshaws.
At the home, we were fed a traditional Beijing meal prepared by the husband of the family. It was very good.
After this we returned to the hotel for the day. If it had not been so snowy and cold, I would have really loved to head off to another site like the Temple of Heaven but the snow made us decide to not push for this. We ended up just exploring the area around the hotel and eat supper with members of our group at a dumpling restaurant we found. As we were sitting in our room this evening, we could hear the fireworks being set off nearby but unfortunately a tall building blocked our view of them.