After Hong Kong and Xi An, we went to Beijing.  Peking Duck is a specialty; this restaurant brings the ducks out and carves them at tableside.

In Bei Hai Park, today's paper is posted and people can read it as they stroll.

 I can't put together a webpage about China without some scary street food.  Seahorses, anyone?

We visited Tiananmen Square, and then entered the Forbidden City (seen in the background).

The forbidden city is forbidden no more.  It was swarming with tourists.

I climbed a few stairs to get this picture of almost the entire second courtyard.

The five bridges cross over the "river" as you walk deeper into the city.

A nice panoramic picture.

The middle door is for God or Gods; so, it remains closed until He or They arrive.

Some detail of the roof.

And a nice view of various roofs.

This pagoda, in the Imperial Garden, is all man-made, but they did a good job of making it look like it's dug out of a rock.

Here's a view of the outer defenses of the city.

Now, on to the Temple of Heaven.  There is a section of this large park / complex that was just for the Emperor to purify himself and prepare for the ceremonies to come.
This bell is in that area.

The circular structure seen through this gate is called the Hall for Prayer for Good Harvest.  
As the name implies, this is where the emperor would come and pray for all the farmers in the land.

The top has the one main stone in the middle, surrounded by 9 stones, surrounded by 18 stones, etc... When standing on the middle stone, your voice has tremendous resonance from the surrounding marble.

Walking through this gate, we see the Imperial Vault of Heaven. The low wall surrounding it is called the echo wall; someone standing on one side and talking quietly can be heard by someone standing 180 degrees away.

The interior of the Imperial Vault.

Through the gate we see the Temple of Heaven.

This long, raised walkway leads to the Temple.

Us in front of the Temple.

And a side view of the Temple, with an impressive flower arrangement.

Now we're at the Summer Palace.  Most of the building you see are quite modern, only 100 years old or so.  

These walkways lead most of the way through the complex.

The art painted on the beams of the roof is spectacular... are the views of Kunming Lake.

This is the famous marble boat.  The story goes, the Royal Dowager Cixi diverted money from the royal navy to rebuild the summer palace.
As you can see, she did build at least one boat with that money.  But, as it's made of marble, it's not sailing into the sunset anytime soon.

And now for some really new buildings in Beijing, at Olympic Park.

The Bird's Nest is a very impressive stadium.  The "beams" look like metal, but are really concrete.

This is where the flags were raised for the winners in the Bird's Nest.

The Water Cube is just across the courtyard.  We got there too late to go inside, though.

See the waterfall inside the windows at the bottom of the picture?

While walking out to catch a taxi, we saw this statue of a woman playing pool.