Last weekend we flew all the way up to Beijing (about 3 hours) because I wanted to see the snow and I wanted to experience "proper winter". You have to remember that I live in Hong Kong and the winter here is very mild so at the time it sounded like a good idea to go somewhere with a temperature of minus 10 degrees celsius. One step out of the plane and I realised my mistake because A) I don't really like the cold and B) It wasn't snowing.
The good news was that the air pollution was low and the sky was clear and an electric shade of blue, so we started our mini expedition to the Great Wall at Mutianyu.
It's an amazing experience to walk on such ancient structure and to imagine what it was like for the people who worked on the wall at the time. How did they get supplies there? What kind of clothes did they wear? How did they keep warm in the winter? For us the cold was not that much of a problem because the sun was scorching and there were so many steps and stairs that it felt like doing cardio at the gym.
After walking around for about 2 hours we were ready for a hot drink and a snack. There's only one shop at the wall and there we found a friendly cat who I named Papitas because he/she liked eating crisps (Papitas means crisps in Spanish). I thought he/she was the only cat around until we discovered a big family of cats sunbathing by the exit.
On the second day we visited the Forbidden City. The blue and clear sky was gone, replaced by clouds and humidity but this was a perfect setting for the snow to come. It wasn't as dramatic as I had imagined but it feel magical nonetheless.
The complex is beautiful and well preserved. I especially like that the buildings are painted red which looks good with or without blue sky. Despite the beautiful buildings and colours it was difficult to enjoy walking around because it was very, very cold!
All pictures © Gina Maldonado