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Welcome to China!

My wife and I took a trip to China for Christmas and the New Year to see our relatives (my wife is a native Beijinger). China is an enigma for many. An ancient civilisation with amazing history of innovation, invention and cultural offerings to the world. It is now developing faster than any other nation that has been seen in the history of the world and lifting millions of people out of poverty. Whilst we might not always agree with the methods, the results are impressive.

During our time in China we visited Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai. This photo thread, in much a similar vein to my others, will cover what I see - warts and all. If I find something interesting, I take a photo of it. Whilst my photos are not professional, I hope you all enjoy the "virtual tour" that I hope I can give you all.


Day One - Arriving in Beijing 2014 12 25


Welcome to Beijing! We were picked up from Terminal 2 by my father-in-law after a Hainan Airways flight from Berlin Tegel. We arrived on Christmas day, so Merry Christmas!

Travelling by car from the airport.























A wall of buildings! I love travelling on roads through tall buildings like this.












The second ring road is impressively crowded.










SOHO Galaxy.

 

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First view of a Hutong at Nanpaifang.






Toilet block used by Hutong residents.





Small park at Jianguomen.








Entrance to the metro station (Jianguomen) on line 1 and 2, the two oldest lines on the Beijing subway.





Walking down Jianguomen inner street.





A disjointed rainbow.






Trees painted white to stop borers.






Our rainbow fragment. This is lit up nicely at night.






Looking down the road (direction of Tiananmen).










Underpasses are required to cross what is a monumentally large road.






The whole vista seems very spacious and spread out.









Entering Dongdan station (lines 1 and 5).











Arriving at our station where we stayed - Liujiayao.






More to come of our second day in Beijing. :)
 

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Day Two - Getting to Grips with Beijing

After my first day I was raring to go. I had to take some photos of the area. We were staying near shazikou (沙子口路)in the south of the city. We were borrowing the apartment from my wife's uncle who uses it only when he stays up in Beijing (he's based in Chongqing). :)




Our apartment building had lots of adverts in the stairwell. Mostly for plumbers and handymen.









Even on the side of the stairs!






Outside our apartment.







Our entrance. :)








Walking off down the road.










Little courtyard/public square.









Say hello to the kitty! :D








On shazikou itself.









Nearby shops.











Had to try to find somewhere to walk.









Finally, we reached the third ring road and started our walk towards the subway. :)












This intersection was hell to cross!






Almost at the station.








The road was massive, and had few crossing points unfortunately.








The shops near the metro station.







We made it to Liujiayao station (刘家窑站)。








Dancers outside the station.






Next up, the trip into the centre. :)
 

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So, here we are - at the subway station Liujiayao in the south of Beijing.







We had to change lines at Dongsi station to line 6. Here are the line 5 platforms.






And our walk to line 6.





Line 6 has some nice decorations.








Waiting for our train.






We then had to change from line 6 to line 8 at Nanluoguxiang station.





At line 8.








The subway system is MASSIVE now. Just think, most of this was built since the early 2000's.






On the train.

 

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We arrived at Olympic park. :D

Here was a left over sign from earlier. ;)






A view to the fourth ring road.







The IBM HQ is really impressive.






First view of the birds nest, one of my favourite stadiums.








Panorama of the Olympic Park.





Sculptures litter the park.












Lots of seating!






First view of the aqua cube!










Olympic Stadium.






Will continue later. :)
 

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Onwards around the park! :)

Boat standing next in the shadow of the IBM building.






Peer through the smog and you'll spot one of the most impressive buildings I've seen in a long, long time.






There are mini birds nests (lights) dotted around the stadium.






Poor sign has seen better days.






Looking across to the torch tower.







Parkland! :)






I love the torch building.








This is a really nice tribute - all athletes have been immortalised on a wall! :)






Map of the Olympic Park.






More to come. :)
 

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To continue with the tour of Beijing.

We cross one of the first roads dividing up Olympic Park.







And come across this awesome piece of artwork.






As well as walking up to Xin'ao shopping centre.






Looking across to the national convention centre.






The imposing observation tower looms in the distance.








Horsemen at the shopping centre.






And some traditional architecture.






Side by side with unusual sculptures and art pieces.












That observation tower really is something. It's actually hard to fit in frame.






Engrish or should I say "Fringrish"? :lol:







Lots more to come. :)
 

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More sculptures in the park.










More wise information.






A field of rubbish bins! :lol:






Entrance to Forest Park at the north of the Olympic Park.






Forest gate park is an amazing space, even in winter!

Looking back at the Olympic park.








Our first view of the lake.






Walkways and running tracks through the park.






Red twigs - these are quite unique.






The park is very well presented.






More to come in the future. :)
 

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Continuing with forest park. :)

First a frozen lake.






And interesting English...






Looking across the lake is stunning. It's almost like the smog enhances the view one gets.












The platform I took the pictures from.






More frozen waterways.






Complete with trapped fish!







More views of the general park.












We head towards the city centre following this little walk. More to come. :)
 

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Continuing towards the city now.

We start at my favourite station I saw in Beijing - South gate of Forest Park on line 8 of the subway.









We exited the station at Nanluoguxiang station.









And were greeted by this sight.






And this road.






But we didn't want to go down the road, we wanted to walk through the shopping street. :D







The side streets led to the Hutong.









But the main street was all about the shopping.








More side streets.








And an awesome doorway to a courtyard.






More to come later. :)
 

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Continuing down the shopping street.









Beijing is just RIFE with good food! :D






Well, this looks intriguing.







And the interior was even moreso!











My wife's shop (well, it's named after her taken English name).








I loved these hats. I wanted to buy my wife one, but she refused as she said that no one wears things like this in Sweden (unfortunately).






More to come! :D
 

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Continuing past some interesting shops.







One of the eight mythical creatures from Baidu. The CNM. ;)







CNM right next to plaques detailing the areas history.








I miss areas that sell quirky nonsense like this in Stockholm.







Totoro (Japanese) next to Peter Rabbit (Britain). :D







Coming to the end of this street.








Next set coming soon. :)
 

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We finally reach Gulou East St (鼓楼东街).









There was a MASSIVE queue for this tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Must have been good! I didn't feel like queuing for half the day, though! :lol:






There were some really cool shops in this area.








Street view.











Old rubbed shoulders with the new.







Even the back alleys had some interesting shops.







The drum tower.








And bell tower.







More to come. :)
 

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Backstreets near the towers.









This is an interesting duck.






Entrance to the Hutong.






Jiugulou Street (旧鼓楼大街).






Shops along the street.






Hutong nearby.








Some graffiti - was surprised to see this!






Continuing down the street.







Gate welcoming you to the area.







Time to move on to our next area.







But that comes in the next set. :)
 

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It was pretty cold then - actually colder than Stockholm in Sweden! However, it was very dry, very sunny (every day) and as such the weather seemed to me to be nicer than it was back home.
 

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Walking through the station at Chaoyangmen.






The station connects up to the building that I really wanted to visit - SOHO Galaxy!











Sunset.

 

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The interior of the mall is, unfortunately, quite empty. Occupancy rate seems to be quite low...







Looking down the street outside SOHO Galaxy.







It's a very impressive building from the outside.









Other buildings lining the second ring road.









Looking down the second ring road.











The second ring road is incredibly busy as you can see here...





Again, back to other buildings lining the second ring road.









More to come. :)
 
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