Beijing: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and Jingshan Park


In front of The Tiananmen, or the Gate of Heavenly Peace, a monumental gate in the center of Beijing, widely used as a national symbol of China

Of course no trip to Beijing is complete without a visit to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City! So for our first trek out, we headed to Tiananmen Square which is opposite the Forbidden City.

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Beijing: Hot Pot


Our hot pot

After we checked into our hotel we first ventured out for lunch because we were starving. But what to eat first? You should know that Beijing is in Northern China, so the most famous dishes are with wheat rather than rice. So that means lots of buns, noodles, and dumplings! We decided to just venture out and stop somewhere that looked good. That brought us to a delicious hot pot restaurant!

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Beijing: Our Hotel


Because I was so happy with our hotel in Beijing, I decided to make an entire post about the Beijing Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel! Our hotel is located in the hutongs: centuries-old, tree-lined alleyways that are the true heartbeat of this unique city and a real-life link to its fascinating past. We had so much fun exploring/accidentally exploring because we got very lost amonst all of the hutongs (there’s not Google Maps in China).

The location is perfect, the hotel is beautiful, and the staff is so nice and friendly.

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Delft, Netherlands May 2013

In Delft!

In Delft, with the Oude Kerk in view!

Ever since Koen and I have been together, almost 8 years ago, my mother has been dying to make a day trip to Delft in the Netherlands. Now we’ve finally made it happen! Delft is a picture perfect Dutch city known for it’s blue and white china and the painter Johannes Vermeer (Girl with a Pearl Earring). We enjoyed a wonderful day walking along the canals, lunch at ‘t Vermeertje, exploring De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles (Royal Delft, the only remaining factory of the 32 earthenware factories that were established in Delft during the 17th century), and sampling the awardwinning Dutch pannenkoeken (pancakes) from Stads-Koffyhuis.


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