We are staying in the coolest place in Beijing this weekend. It’s stuck way in the back of an old hutong (traditional Chinese neighborhood) in the middle of Beijing and is absolutely beautiful. It is just an old family home that has been converted into a very nice hostel with an extremely friendly staff. And they even have this beautiful balcony from which to enjoy the weather!
Today was such an incredible day. We woke up early to some of the worst smog we have ever seen, but were soon picked up by our friends who whisked us away to the Qing Dynasty Tombs in their car. It’s about an hour and a half away from the Baoding and as such, there was no smog there. What is there is some of the coolest historical monuments in China. There are seven tombs and they are so massive that we spent the whole day there and only got around to seeing four of them. The whole area is surrounded by mountains and to make it even better, the whole place was deserted. We went the whole day seeing only a handful of other people, and that is about the rarest thing that can happen to you in China.
The tombs are lightly renovated, but heavily maintained, making them some of the most fascinating places I have ever seen in China. Anywhere else you go, you know you are looking at a building that is just like the one that used to be there, but was built in the 1970s. These buildings though were hundreds and hundreds of years old. In many places, especially in the underground tombs, you could even see some of the original paint! I absolutely loved every moment of it.