Our first official day in Beijing started with a wake-up call at 7am. After breakfast with sushi and noodle soup we met at the lobby to walk to the Forbidden City. With myriads of Chinese people we walked through the large historic sight. Our kind tour guides gave us interesting information about the Chinese history. The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost five hundred years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government. In ancient times, there were over 8’000 houses within the walls and it would have take about 6 days to see the whole place. After the tour we climbed the “Kohlenberg” which is located right behind the Forbidden City. Everyone was exhausted when we reached the summit, but the view was teriffic.
At noon we had free time to fresh ourselves up and to have lunch. The next appointment was in front of the Swiss embassy. Because of the picky cab drivers some groups arrived late. Finally, Mr B. Godet, the ambassador, welcomed us and gave us a detailed insight into the work of the embassy. In addition, Ms Ch. Kyburz and Mr M. Reubi spoke about the section “science and education”. After the visit we took the crowded subway to get to a famous Beijing duck restaurant. We experienced that it is very easy to get lost in such a big city. Thanks to the helpful Chinese police officers we got back on track.
At the restaurant Mr M. Ackeret (acronym ‘mac’), correspondent of the NZZ in China, held an interesting speech about his daily challenges as a journalist abroad. We enjoyed the famous Beijing duck dinner. In the end of the day we got some instructions for the next day and then we painted the town red.