Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 31 miles throughout the day, approximately 1.5 hours riding time. Walking about 3 miles throughout the day; generally flat, paved terrain with places to rest; up to 80 steps with railings at Forbidden City.
At the hotel.
We will set out via motorcoach with our expert Group Leader for a field trip to explore and enjoy the beauty of the Qing Emperors’ Summer Palace. Lily ponds and arched bridges border its serene lake and painted pavilions depict stories that reflect the rich history of Chinese life and art.
In an “Old Beijing” hutong, we’ll gather for a family-hosted lunch including jaozi (Chinese style dumplings). Hutongs are old residential neighborhoods with courtyard homes situated in small lanes and alleys that are rapidly disappearing due to urban development.
Next, we will ride to explore parts of the 250-acre Forbidden City imperial compound. It was called the Forbidden City because it was “forbidden” to enter without the Emperor’s permission. The world’s largest palace complex, it is surrounded by a moat 170 feet wide, a wall more than 32 feet high, and contains 8,700 rooms! Construction began in 1407, and, thanks to the labor of a million workers including 100,000 artisans, it was completed in 1420. The Forbidden City was not only the personal residence of emperors and their royal families, but China’s political center for more than five centuries.
At a local restaurant, we’ll have our official welcome dinner and savor the famous culinary delight, Beijing Roast Duck, a.k.a. Peking Duck. The dish was first created for Ming Dynasty emperors six hundred years ago. The ducks are specially raised and the elaborate preparation involves a series of steps to produce the crispy skin and savory meat with traditional accompaniments such as scallion and sweet bean sauce, all rolled inside a thin pancake.
At leisure. After returning to the hotel, feel free to take a neighborhood walk, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, or just relax.