Our journey along the Tibetan border had finished at the Leshan Giant Buddha, south of Chengdu. But our stay in China continued for a few days in Beijing, where I used my time to visit the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong (or Chairman Mao Memorial Hall). What a special experience to see the embalmed body of Mao Zedong together with hundreds of Chinese! After this early morning excursion, I used the subway to get to the Old Summer Palace (or Yuanmingyuan Park). This complex of palaces and gardens was built during the 18th and 19th century, but almost completely destroyed by British and French military during the Second Opium War. Today, there are only few ruins left of the original splendour, but the park itself offers great walking possibilities. I also thought of doing some birding there, but the weather was too rainy and I did see only very few birds.
On the following day, I had better luck as I joined an outing of a local bird-watcher who showed me some of his favourite places along the river near Beizhuangzhen, approximately 1 hour drive north of Beijing. Not only was the rural landscape very beautiful, there were also many birds, including several kingfishers, egrets, and plenty of Amur Falcons!
This was my last day in China and the plane took me back home to Germany. I had a short stopover in Dubai, but could not get a glimpse of iconic Burj Khalifa.
I hope you liked this little series on my adventures in China during August and September 2015! I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!! 🙂