Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden Palace

Today we were hustled onto one of several busloads of tourists, all on the same tour but each with our own guide.  We were grouped in with a friendly bunch of Americans and another couple from North Vancouver.  These would be the people we would spend the rest of the week with, along with our guide Phoebe.

First stop – Tiananmen Square.  It was loaded with tourist groups from all over the world, each with their own guide, usually holding a stick with a flag or some identifying streamer tied to the top.  Our Phoebe opted for a small anime character tied onto her pole.

After a lot of photo ops, we entered the Forbidden Palace.  There was so much to see, but the crowds were large and we hurried along as best we could.  There is so much ancient history here and many of the signs had English translations, so it was a very educational tour.  The architecture was beautiful and all done by hand, truly amazing!

It took us most of the day to take in this beautiful place.  I found the Imperial Garden to be the most interesting.  A lot of care went in over the last few centuries to make the gardens what they are today, truly amazing!

After a very long day in the Forbidden Palace and the Imperial Gardens, we were whisked off by bus to a jade shop and a pearl factory.  I think they expected us to drop some cash here, but everything was so damn expensive!