We took a 12 hour train ride from Baotou to Beijing at the start of our winter holiday to find the crowds light but the weather chilly.
After watching the sunrise flag ceremony at Tiananmen Square we filed by Chairman Mao's mausoleum (where he's been on view since 1976) and spent the day in the Forbidden City, accompanied by one of our students, Xue Jiao (Nicole).
Forbidden City detail, the largest and best-preserved cluster of ancient buildings in Beijing and home to the Ming and the Qing emperors.
The Summer Palace, a short trip on the new and efficient underground, is full of palace temples, gardens, pavilions, lakes and corridors.
Daniel even took a stroll on the now frozen Kunming Lake that occupies three-quarters of the park.
Climbing the steps to the Temple of Heaven we wrapped up our days in the capitol after enjoying the Peking acrobats and sampling the Peking duck.