Saturday, March 19, 2011
Finally got to show Wolfgang a bit of Beijing. We went to Houhai, wandered around the hutongs, ate at our favourite hidden little cafe and visited the Prince Gong Residence. The latter was a big disappointment. I'd hoped for a 'lived-in' house, steeped in history, perhaps with a quiet courtyard or two, but it's a huge sprawling complex of soullessly renovated buildings and one of those big gardens with fake rock formations and everything grey grey grey. OK, it's March and nothing in bloom and choc-a-bloc with tourists (almost exclusively Chinese), but even if we'd had the place to ourselves I doubt whether we'd have experienced much in the way of atmosphere. Still, great to stroll the backstreets afterwards and chat. Catching up with Wolfgang is an exhausting business.