Trip to China 2019-2020. Beijing. December 20th.

Today, I visit the Temple of Heaven. The temple is a big park with many historical buildings. I get a ticket that allows entrance to a few buildings. I discover that there is a second ticket, in a different colour, that gives access to another set of buildings. And, there is yet a third kind of pass that just requires to present a Chinese card id, in my case, the passport.

The temples are small buildings in the middle of big elaborated spaces. I read the signboards around the park to understand the buildings function and place in history. In museums, I like to enjoy the craftsmanship of the past artist. In historical locations, I try to feel the past and imagine how people lived in the place. The Temple of Heaven makes the task easy.

Most visitor, thou, seem to just want to enjoy themselves in each others company. Many citizens enjoy the park by walking around, practising sport or playing cards.

I’m not sure about where to go from here. I saw a big temple area on the map, the Yonghegong Lama Temple. I decide to go for it.

The Lamastery is a lively place where tourists and worshipper mix. The architecture is similar to what you may find in other historical sites. But, the statues have a clear Tibetan style. The smell of burnt incense impregnates the air. The prayer drums that I learn need to be turned clockwise are all around the place. Some people will confidently turn the drums around and pray. Meanwhile, tourists like me will turn them tentatively to learn how they work.

Next, I enter the Temple of Confucius. It could not be more different from the Lamastery. The place is silent and seems to not be in use anymore for religious purposes. Some of the buildings hold exhibitions about Confucianism or directly about Confucius life. In many temples, it is forbidden to take photographs to not disturb the parishioners or disrespect relics. I take the opportunity to make some extra pictures.

I am tired of walking all day. So, I decided to go back to the hotel.
Getting out of the subway station the
I am tired. So, I go back to the hotel.

Getting out of the subway station, to my surprise, I discover that the National Art Museum of China is open. I misread the closing dates, and I had already abandoned the idea of visiting it. I hurry inside without a second though.

I thoroughly enjoy the exhibits. Most of the paintings and statues are interesting enough and to my liking. The art mixes a realistic style with symbolic and aspirational themes, abstract art is in the minority. Workers, Chinese UN troops, families, and many similar themes are showcased in big and small canvas. The rooms are crowded, but there is enough space left to enjoy the paintings.

After this last experience, I am done for the day.