Forbidden City is an enormous palace complex. This was the imperial center for almost 500 years. We entered through the Gate of Divine Might and crossed south until we reached Tiananmen Square. I enjoyed the grand scale of the courtyards and the buildings' naming scheme, such as the Belvedere of Spreading Righteousness and the Palace of Heavenly Purity.
The Temple of Heaven is another large imperial complex in southeast Beijing. It was built by the same emperor who constructed the Forbidden City. I found the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests very pretty. Apparently, the Hall is made completely of wood with no nails. This was my favorite location in Beijing.
Halfway during my stay, we spent a day at the Summer Palace. We rented a boat and circled the lake while enjoying the sunny afternoon. Afterwards, we strolled along the aptly named Long Corridor which was decorated with all kinds of interesting scenes between the rafters. As the sun set behind Longevity Hill, we sat by the lake and enjoyed the view.
Towards the end of my stay, we visited the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. We took the cable car on the way up and later descended by toboggan. Although we went on a muggy day, I had a great time. We trailed the wall and its towers, and at one point encountered a gold-blue skink, who was nice enough to stay still for a photograph.
I will always appreciate Beijing fondly, as it was my first trip abroad with a camera. The imperial palaces were all amazing, but I also enjoyed the city itself very much. Since then, I have been craving steamed dumplings.