18A Cherry Orchard Crescent
16th of March 2019
RE: Experiencing the Charm of China
Dear parents… My last 6 days in Beijing were truly astonishing and unforgettable. After I arrived at my hotel and unpacked my belongings, I immediately began exploring the streets of this seemingly endless city. At first, I was shocked by the enormous crowds that congested the sidewalks. The incredible size of this country’s population was especially evident in the vast, yet crowded metro. Waves of hurried people flooded each incoming carriage. Back on the surface, each step forward bombarded me with fresh aromas of delicious Chinese food coming from the bustling restaurants. It’s a real paradise for any culinary enthusiast. It wasn’t long until I stumbled across a colossal shopping centre – 7 floors of top-level brands, restaurants and shops with cutting edge technology. Shopping enthusiasts could spend their entire holiday in this retail wonderland. A trip to Beijing wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. The scale of both structures is absolutely stunning, a jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring experience! Forbidden City is actually a complex of palaces and temples that cover a whopping 72 hectares, to put that into context it’s like 47 Croke park pitches! Even after 600 years, its extensive squares, beautiful gardens and vivid constructions were able to convey the country’s vast history and rich culture. The Great Wall of China is definitely true to its name; these meandering, lengthy pathways and towers stretch for over 21,000 km. The view from the top of this wonder was a treat to my eyes. Traversing up and down through it was also a real physical challenge. Thankfully, at the end of this expedition, I was rewarded with a ride down a mountain slide to the base of the mountain range. The place that enchanted me the most however in China was the Lama Temple. When I walked through the portal of this Buddhist monastery, suddenly I was transported to a completely different world. I was no longer surrounded by soaring, modern skyscrapers and hectic streets. The scent of incense filled my lungs and the sight of the majestic, colourful Tibetan architecture froze me in a state of awe. I was absolutely transfixed. Although the temple is not large, I could have spent an entire day roaming, observing and admiring its numerous halls, shrines and a vast collection of historic artworks. I was especially impressed by an 18m tall statue of the Maitreya Buddha, which is the largest statue carved from a single tree trunk in the world. My words cannot capture the magic of this fascinating location. You honestly have to be there to fully experience it all. I have to wrap up this letter. There are still many places to discover and experience.
See you soon. Zaijian!