We started our day with a nice breakfast buffet and headed out at 8am. First stop on our itinerary was Tiananmen Square, a pivotal place in the political realm of China's history that is presently used for celebrations and other important events. Next we walked through the south gates and into the Forbidden City, which receives about 50,000 tourists daily and up to 80,000 during peak seasons. 24 emperors lived and worked here during the Ming and Qing dynasties and there are currently 8,704 rooms! Every animal, color, shape, and style of architecture is symbolic of Chinese values and culture. Within the city we were able to explore the Clock Hall, Treasure Palace, and Imperial Gardens before crossing the 52 meter moat and exiting the north gate.
For lunch, we went to a local restaraunt and experienced our meal family style; about 8 dishes on a spinning table split between all of us.
Full and fighting jet-lag, we took a bus trip to The Summer Palace, sprinkled with lavish living quarters, a theater, temples, and the world's longest walking corridor that Emporer Qianlong built for his mother to enjoy. The corrider borders a lake and features 14,000 different paintings on its beams.
The last excursion of the day was to a Chinese cooking class from a master chef! After a lesson on how to ( safely ) use a cleaver we learned how to make Gung Bao Chicken and Three Treasures, a dish of eggplant, pepper, and potatoes.