The capital of the People’s Republic of China has more than 20 million inhabitants and looks back on a three thousand year history, which impressively comes into its own in many places of the city. The “Forbidden City” in central Beijing was the residence of the Chinese emperor until the revolution and is not accessible to the common people, as the name suggests. Today it is a popular destination for tourists and belongs to UNESCO’s World Heritage. Besides the enormous cultural range Beijing has a lot to offer as culinary stronghold: from the traditional Peking duck to nouvelle cuisine. Here are my favorites for a short trip to the metropolis.
Hotel: The Opposite House
This luxurious 5-star-boutique-hotel is centrally located in the Sanlitun District. The Opposite House was designed by the Japanese star architect Kengo Kuma. In addition to the impressive lobby and the rooms that are furnished both minimalistically and luxuriously, the lit indoor pool in the spa area is an absolute highlight. Another nice little surprise is the complimentary minibar.
Shopping: Taikoo Li
The modern shopping and lifestyle center adjacent to the Opposite House is a mecca for shopaholics. It consists of 140 stores of the hottest designers, a variety of restaurants, art galleries and even a cinema. My particular favorite for an occasional vitamin kick are the delicious smoothies by Früt Actually.
Excursion: Great Wall
The Great Wall is probably the most famous landmark of the country, extending over a length of 8850 km. Plus, it is the largest building in the world and was originally built as a defense against the Huns. Especially in good weather it is lovely to walk along the wall and enjoy the beautiful panorama whereas later on the way back when the legs limp, you can whiz down the summer toboggan.
Favorite place: Green T. House
The beautiful traditional tea house is located just outside the city in a working class suburb and is one of the favourite spots of the local food scene. The front yard alone, radiates an almost meditative tranquility, which is enhanced when entering the restaurant through the simple, white interior and across the smooth stone floor. Body and soul are reconciled and spoilt by heavenly menus.
Culture: Chinese Opera
If you made the long journey to Beijing, you should not miss a visit at the Chinese Opera. The plays recount well known legends and myths, that are expressed by elements of music, singing, drama, dance and acrobatics, quite contrary to a classical opera set-up. Where European theater often concentrates on stage setting, here the focus is on the elaborate costumes and colorful makeup.
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Gloria Brachmann lives in Berlin and travels the world as a flight attendant. Before she turned her profession into her passion and started the blog "Come fly with me", she worked as a Contributor for L'Officiel Homme and as freelance Styling-Assistant.