80. Forbidden City, China

80 – Forbidden City, China

FORBIDDEN CITY!  This walled city in the center of Beijing was the home, (and prison) of the emperors of China after it was built in 1400 AD, until the Japanese took over in WWII.  The massive walls of FORBIDDEN CITY dwarf the Great Wall in height and thickness, and the huge buildings of wood and stone are built without nails — before Columbus discovered America!

There were 9000 rooms spread over 178 acres of land.  Fully occupied with the royal family, concubines, guards and attendants, there were 10,000 people living inside.  No commoner was allowed to go in, and no one who lived there was allowed to leave.

If you saw the movie, “The Last Emperor,” you’ve seen part of it.  Now it is a museum and a tourist challenge.  “Challenge” because this square mile complex has great elevated buildings, “halls”, for the throne room, banquets, quarters, and gardens, and courtyards, requiring near athletic ability to climb steps and hike!

My preparation for the trip paid off!  I had purchased a 3- wheeled walker Instead of relying on my cane.  Pushing the walker, and with passing Sunriders helping on stairs, I maneuvered my way up and down, and through the mile long complex with little difficulty!  A magnificent experience!  I have walked where the Emperors of China walked, and stood before their throne!  I marveled at the architecture and ornate buildings, and chuckled at a conspicuous out-of-place hand painted sign — “NO SMOCKING”.  (Yes, that’s the way it was spelled)

The last place we stopped to rest was at the end of FORBIDDEN CITY in the Emperor’s gardens. The gardens were a beautiful and peaceful place.  We sat under large gnarled trees in cool shade, a welcome respite after hiking in the sun across the massive courtyards.  (One lady fainted from heat exhaustion)

Our bus arrived and we took the short ride back to the hotel. An exhausting day, but amazing experience!

A once in a lifetime experience!  We walked where the Emperors of China walked, and saw where they lived — THE FORBIDDEN CITY!