I typically operate somewhere between severe wanderlust + cozy homebody. so, when all this stay-at-home began, I was optimistic. at the time, the weather was still playing its part as “winter”. I’m a midwesterner, which means I basically hibernate all winter long. going out only when necessary, or an uncharacteristically nice day appears. we don’t typically have exciting travel plans, for fear + likelihood they’ll be delayed or canceled due to weather. so, I welcomed a request to stay inside in comfy clothes. there may have even been a glimpse of pure joy when I realized “real pants” were now optional.

yet as time has passed (nearly two months), the weather is getting nicer + cabin fever is setting in. I can often be found planning fictional, someday trips. where we’ll stay, grab our morning coffees, shop, dine, see + explore. I’m officially operating in severe wanderlust.

so, let’s take a (pretend) trip to beijing.

a trip the husband + I were fortunate enough to take a few (like 7) months before we welcomed our 2nd baby. we were invited + graciously tagged along with my in-laws on a 72-hour adventure. before I travel somewhere I’ve never been, I like to do a whole lot of research. there wasn’t time for that. this was a more “pack your bags + hop on the next flight” kind of a trip.

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

this is how we spent 72 hours in beijing.

DAY ONE: we arrived in beijing around dinner on wednesday. after a long day of traveling, we had just enough energy to freshen up + have dinner at our hotel. we only had 72 hours to spend in china, so no moment would be spared on jet lag. on thursday morning, our wake-up call was set for 6:00AM. our first stop is considered one of the (new) 7 wonders of the world, and a place I’d hoped I’d see in my lifetime ..

the great wall of china.

we visited the mutianyu section of the great wall. it was first built over 1,400 years ago and is just a 2-hour drive northeast of the city. we took a chairlift up, and a (really fun) toboggan down. we soaked in the beauty of the landscape, admired the expansive architecture, and marveled at the history.

we stopped for a really delicious lunch on our way back to beijing. after asking our preferences, our guide ordered the meal. it was served family style on a large lazy susan in the middle of the table. the marinated tofu, black chinese mushrooms, and tea were worth writing home about. once back in beijing, we took a rickshaw tour of a hutong (definition of hutong: a narrow lane or alleyway in a traditional residential area of a chinese city, especially beijing) neighborhood.

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

DAY TWO: on friday, we spent the day exploring the city. we wandered the bustling neighborhood near our hotel, went shopping at a few markets, had the BEST “food court” lunch, attempted to navigate the city on foot (with a map), and even gave the subway system a try (with the help of our concierge).

DAY THREE: on saturday, we made our way to toward tiananmen square. moving through + along mass amounts of people, we were going to get a look into the ..

forbidden city.

simply put: the forbidden city is a palace complex, where the emperors of china lived + held political gatherings for over 500 years. it is absolutely huge! I read it covers 180 acres + has close to 1,000 buildings. it is breathtaking + filled with ancient history. the little girl in me couldn’t wait to get home + watch the disney movie, mulan (in which mulan saves the emperor from the huns in the forbidden city).

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

and on sunday, we flew back home. 

I will be forever grateful for the chance to explore beijing, even for a mere 72 hours. an absolute whirlwind, fueled mostly by excitement + as much coffee (and tea) as I could get my hands on. it was an opportunity that had my gut screaming “YES! GO!” and my brain thinking “you’ll barely be on land longer than the flight to get there + back, is it worth it?”. it was 100% worth it.

take the trip. visit places you’ve always dreamed of seeing. challenge logic. save comfort zones for later use. we have just one life to live.

travels to china little lessons by Chelsea

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