By davidc

The Forbidden City, Beijing

We've had a super busy day. At 8am (1am body time!) we started off the morning's activities with a tour of the Temple of Heaven, then moved on to Tiananmen Square and thence to the Forbidden City. As we progressed through that we thought we were never going to stop entering yet another fabulous square with wonderful buildings. The main blip shows the Emperor's residential quarters in the Forbidden City.

After lunch we were "allowed" a 2-hour siesta which was very welcome with the temperature up to 35C (during the morning we'd all had to buy at least an extra litre of water in addition to the 750mls we'd taken with us in order to keep ourselves hydrated!).

Activities after that were optional but we all decided to go to the Olympic Park to await sunset and see the "Birds' Nest Stadium" lit up (first extra). On the way back to the subway station we were intrigued to see a group of young children practising holding a rather odd body posture for several minutes (second extra) - our guide explained that they were being taught positions for roller skating. We love the little lad who looks as if he's not quite sure what he's meant to be doing. Soon after that we saw children being taught skiing on an indoor artificial ski slope.

The group is small (only 9 of us) and quite varied - four Brits (including us), three Australians and two New Zealanders (although the Kiwi couple are actually an ex-pat Russian with, we think, a Maori wife). Quite cosmopolitan - and they're all lovely and very easy to get on with. Our guide (Tanya) is a jolly young Chinese girl.

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