As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we wanted to see Beihai Park on our "free day." We headed out around 9:30am. There is a subway station is right outside our hotel. The concierge told us it would be 5 stops. Easy enough. And it really was. Everything is written in Chinese and English. We were able to purchase our tickets with no problem, and a nice Chinese man from Toronto helped us make it through the turnstiles and confirmed we would get off in 5 stops.
It was about a 20 minute walk north from the subway station to Beihai Park.
We walked through the hutongs. It was lovely. The air was cool (though smoggy), and the streets were tree lined. Since we knew we would be walking a lot, Patrick carried Madeline in one of our carriers for a bit.
We finally arrived and purchased our entrance tickets. Caleb couldn't get over how many people ride their bikes or scooters.
Our first stop was Jade Island, where the White Dagoba is located.
We made our way through the Yong'An Temple to the top.
There were a lot of steps to climb. And if you look closely, you can see the dumplings reactions to another set of steps.
We made it to the top where some small cannons were, and they pretended they were Izzy and Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates.
Then it was time to head back down.
Patrick wanted to rent a boat. Thankfully they had both power boats and peddle boats. We opted for power. Caleb and Madeline had fun taking turns driving the boat. There was a nice breeze out there, and it gave our legs a rest.
After our boat ride, we decided to get some lunch overlooking the lake. It was lovely to sit outside and watch the boaters go by. The bird watching was fun too, until they wanted to poop on me. They did that twice. Seriously, what are the odds of being pooped on twice? Patrick switched seats with me and put on his hat. Lunch was delicious! We had fried chicken, shredded pork, and schezuan chicken. I tried some fried milk too, a bit sweet but fine.
After lunch, we headed toward the north gate of the park.
The walk around the lake was covered in trees. We really enjoyed it.
We eventually made our way to the Nine Dragon Wall.
Then it was time to head back south around the other side of the lake.
There are people dancing everywhere. Madeline had been asking Caleb to dance with her since we first entered the park. He's a bit shy and kept declining. But eventually, he agreed. It was the cutest thing ever!
Fortunately, we were able to take a ferry back to Jade Island near the Five Dragon Pavillion. Otherwise, it would've been a much longer walk.
It was another 20 minute walk back to the subway station. The hutongs were more crowded in the afternoon. We actually passed right by a school as it let out. I had "what ifs" flash before me. Madeline and Caleb could've been one of these kids if God didn't have other plans for them. We stopped to get some more drinks and lollipops for the kids. The lady tried to rip Patrick off, but he wasn't fooled.
We finally made it back to the hotel around 4:00pm. We were spent, but the dumplings really wanted to swim. So we ventured down to the pool. Let's just say the water temperature isn't quite what it is at home. They swam for a little bit, and I was thankful we didn't have to purchase swim caps for them. We headed back up to the room to wash up. Patrick ventured out for some dinner and to find Madeline some sneakers. Yep, we left her sneakers at home. Since our hotel is so close to the Silk Market, he headed over there and picked her up a pair. When he returned, she was asleep on the bed. It was an early night for everyone!
Another family with our agency arrived yesterday. We were originally told that we would tour the Forbidden City today, but when our guide called, she mentioned the Great Wall. So I guess we'll soon find out where we're actually going. lol