Beijing 2016 – Morning of Sightseeing

This post is written by Katie about a morning of sightseeing in Beijing after the World Robot Contest concluded.

Gulou Street Station was empty before the first train of the day
The S2 train at 6:12am departed as expected.  We reached the station in time, but had no where to store our bags.

On our last morning we left the Beijing Drum Tower Youth Hostel at 5:10am to catch the first blue line towards Beijing North Railway Station. We found the S2 departure area at the railway station – and arrived in plenty of time to catch the first 6:12am train – but found that the left luggage office did not open until 7am.

The schedule of the S2 train between Beijing North and Badaling Great Wall depends on the day of the week.
The schedule of the S2 train between Beijing North and Badaling Great Wall depends on the day of the week.

With no reliable options to store luggage at the Badaling Great Wall, we resigned ourselves to wait. However, as we waited we found that the S203 that I had seen online was scheduled for 7:58am, was apparently not running today. The next scheduled train was 8:34am, which would leave us too little time at the wall. As I found out later, the S2 schedule is different on different days.

Once the left luggage guy arrived, he said our robot bags were too big to fit in the lockers. He refused to keep them outside the lockers, so we eventually gave up on seeing the Great Wall on this trip. We decided to try and take the bags back to the Beijing Drum Tower Youth Hostel, leave them in left luggage, and walk around the Drum Tower area. The hostel easily agreed to this, so we were indeed able to explore some.  In the end, this was likely a much better idea that trying to visit the Great Wall due to our limited time.  Getting back from the Great Wall and to the airport for our 4pm flight would have likely been rather stressful.

We walked to the nearby Drum Tower. Since there were no drum shows soon, we kept walking to Jingshan Park.  Josiah had visited here with Ruohan in 2015, and said it was pleasant and provided good views.

One of the entrances to Jingshan Park.
Ticket for Jingshan Park entrance.
Josiah climbing the stairs to the temples at the top of the park.
The upper-most temple.
View of the Forbidden City from Jingshan Park.

There were many locals in the park in the morning walking and exercising. People were dancing, clapping, and using weighted balls on paddles. There were also lots of cats – including a very fluffy white cat – but they wanted nothing to do with us. We wandered the park for a while before climbing to a hill-top temple in the middle of the park. Once at the top, there were great views of the Forbidden Palace as well as all of downtown Beijing. The park was certainly worth its 2 CNY entrance fee.

Josh and Josiah in the courtyard between the Bell and Drum Towers.
Drum Tower performance

After sitting at the temple and enjoying the views for a while, we walked to the drum tower to see the 10:30am drum show. The show was shorter than I remembered, but the guys seemed to enjoy it.

Hutong near the Bell and Drum towers
Dumplings and fried delights at the restaurant near the hostel.
Fried rice and the corn pancake at the restaurant near the hostel.

We walked along a few hutongs on the way to eat lunch at the dumplings restaurant by the hostel. We ordered two types of dumplings, a corn pancake, fried delights, and fried rice with soy sauce. Everything was great except for the corn pancake, which just wasn’t what we expected. The dumplings were better quality than the ones we had been getting delivered at the venue. Our feast came out to just 99 yuan, or 33 yuan per person.

Josiah and Josh relaxing at the hostel when we went back to get our bags and head to the airport.

After lunch we walked to a nearby bakery before picking up our bags from the Beijing Drum Tower Youth Hostel and then taking the metro to the airport. The check-in line at the airport was long, so I left the guys to fend for themselves and used my OneWorld emerald status to use the priority check in line. Interestingly, check in was ran by China Air agents.

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