They don’t make megalomaniacs like they used to.
Be advised (particularly if you’ve recently had a child) that the Forbidden City is called a city for a reason. It is ENORMOUS. Luckily Bonnie is a smart tour guide and encouraged us to take the most direct possible route through. She also carried our nappy bag (while CJ carried Louisette and the baby bag), which meant I carried nothing at all – a cunning (and successful) plan to deal with a physically draining day.
We started off by walking across Tiananmen Square.
The worst part of the Forbidden City was the ridiculous number of people (this week has three public holidays in a row). The best part of the Forbidden City was the beautiful Imperial Gardens section at the end.
After going a-l-l the way through the city, we climbed the fairly steep hill behind it. The hill is called “The Mound” and is artificial. Apparently there’s someone else’s palace underneath. It’s actually not all that high, but because Beijing is so very flat there are long views in all directions – including directly back over the Forbidden City.