In the Northern Capital

Taking the train from Kunming to Beijing, the landscape rolling by is impressive. Mostly somewhat shrouded in mist, much of the hillsides and plains is cultivated. Engineering is everywhere, with the many rail bridges and tunnels jutting out of the sides of hills, spanning the many rivers and lakes.
But, perhaps because it's a Sunday, or perhaps because, just like the cities, the country side's architectural wonders have been overdimensionalized, the roads see nary a car, the towns are quiet and many of the buildings appear empty.
The train journey was quite pleasant, even though traveling second class meant sleeping six to each compartment. The worst was the Chinese carefree attitude towards generating bodily sounds of any kind.

In Beijing, meaning 'northern capital', we were welcomed by what felt like an Eastern European winter, though halfway through our stay, this changed to a somewhat more welcoming crispy spring.
The city's sights were overrun with tourists, mostly Chinese, perhaps already taking their days off in preparation for the upcoming national holiday of labour day. The crowds, and the many tour groups, typically all decked out with the same headgear, were a bit too much to keep the sights enjoyable, including the city's two main attractions, the forbidden city and the summer palace.

We had more luck with a somewhat overpriced tour of the Great Wall, at least as far as fellow tourists went. Our visit did not go to the most often visited Badaling section, but went a bit further, to a less well restored stretch where we literally were the only ones to be seen. A pity it was that eastern European winter when we visited.

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