After having arrived in Beijing the evening before the official program of the study trip started on Wednesday, June 26 2013.
A quick bus ride brought us to the Olympic Village where we visited the famous Birds Nest designed by the Swiss Architects Herzog & De Meuron for the 2008 Olympic Games. After some bargaining with the ticket vendors we managed to negotiate a student fee for a tour inside the Birds Nest, which offered us an amazing insight into the Stadium. The Olympic Village is usually crowded on weekends but
the Birds Nest itself is nowadays rarely used for sports events.
The next thing on our schedule was a surprise which brought us to the outskirts of Beijing namely to Shunyi District. There we visited a company called Swiss Bread, which produces a range of almost 200 sorts of pastries for private and corporate customers in Beijing. The General Manager of Swiss Bread Mr. Beat Müller and his Technical Director Mr. Severin Siegrist welcomed us to their production facility. After Mr. Müller gave us an interesting insight into starting up a company in China and the challenges therein we were invited to taste a wide variety of his product line.
Challenges Swiss Bread was and still is facing today comprise of flexibility towards Government regulations, the scarcity of skilled labor force, the willingness to accept a certain level of quality downgrades in order to maintain the costs at a profitable rate.
After the presentation of Mr. Müller we had a lively discussion and were able to visit the production premises. In the end we were invited to a barbeque with Mr. Müller and Mr. Siegrist.
Great Wall of China
Another bus ride brought us to the last visit on our schedule for the day. We drove to a place called JingShanLing where we took a gondola access the Great Wall of China. In this section the Wall is still partially in its original form.
During our walk on the the Wall we unfortunately got into a heavy rainstorm which was a pity in the beginning but gave us a breathtaking view on the massive Wall after storm was over and the skies cleared. We finished the day with a dinner on the Wall with Mr. Wanping Zhou who is a world famous photographer of the Great Wall of China.
We afterwards returned to our hotel, tired but with unforgettable memories.
Written by C. Chevalier, P. Kull, G. Walser, F. Röllin