I slept like a baby and was ready for a day tour of Beijing. The temperature was a cool 27 degrees with clear blue skies and no smog, a special treat for Beijing. I was able to get some nice early morning photos from the hotel roof-top. Beijing is the Capitol of the People's Republic of China, it is the political, cultural, domestic and international communications center of China. Traditional and modern elements combine together and is one of the famous ancient historical and cultural cities in the world. Our first stop of the day was Tian'an Men Square - the largest parade square in the world and the resting place of Chairman Mao Tse Tung. We walked through the Square to the North Gate of the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City with its imperial palace took 14 years to build and contains more than 8700 rooms in the complex...quite a site to see. We stopped for an early regional lunch before heading to the Summer Palace. The Palace is a former imperial garden with more than 800 years of history, temples, lakes, walkways and a monument to classical Chinese garden landscaping....my type of gardens! The Palace used to be the summer retreat for the emperor and his wives...and serves as beautiful setting for photos. We were very pleased to have Gerald Bernhoft and Pamela Baade join us...we had such fun over our two great days of touring...it was a pleasure to share the experience with wonderful friends. Two days at sea and Shanghai is our next adventure. This is part one of a three part blog.