Sunday, December 22, 2013

Temple of Heaven

Winter break is in full swing and we are enjoying time at home. Typically, the ringing in of a vacation finds us scurrying somewhere around the world but due to the craziness at home (the little rascals are up to just about everything) we opted for staying in Beijing, enjoying time with the monkeys and getting a few outings without the monkeys.

On Thursday, Li Xin came to watch the girls and we took off for town. The subway ran smoothly and beautiful blue skies helped the sun bring some warmth on a chilly, day before winter starts, kind of day. Walking along the east wall, it seemed as if we would have the park and temple to ourselves but as we rounded the corner to the northern entrance many others joined us. However, these other folks weren't heading out to see the sights but coming to the gorgeous grounds surrounding the park for exercise and entertainment.

Many walkways snaked through the grounds and they were filled with people doing tai-chi, dancing, singing karaoke, flag dancing, hacky-sackin' and strolling along. Few tourists roamed the walkways and the temple areas seemed vacant.

Visitors were not allowed into the temple but doorways were open enough for us to glimpse the ornate decorations inside. The temple area (multiple temples are located along the sprawling grounds) were historically dedicated to good harvests.

At the southern end of the park, we came to an area built up around the Heavenly Center stone. We climbed the many stairs to find a small boy perched on top of a round stone. His family snapped photo after photo - good luck?

After walking the grounds, we headed off for a nice lunch of Beijing duck and then were off to the Pearl Market for a bit of shopping. All in all, a good day!

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