What Exactly Is An “I Love Beijing!” Day?

Blossom, Blue Sky and Hiking- Beijing
Blossom, Blue Sky and Hiking- Beijing

An “I Love Beijing!” day (also commonly known as an “I {Heart }Beijing” day and written as “I ❤ Beijing”) is not a phrase you’ll find in a dictionary (Collins or Urban), but it’s an increasingly common saying amongst expats in Beijing; both out loud and written on social media. An “I Love Beijing” day  (I Love Beijing weekends are also common) is a day/weekend when you, quite simply, love Beijing! But, what makes it different to just having a nice day in your city is that, commonly, it has been preceded by an intense stretch of polluted days.

Waking up to a blue sky and fresh air after 4 + days of pollution and grey, leads to a natural high that only Beijingers understand. Unfortunately (and especially lately) those blue skies don’t always last very long. Thus, when you get a perfect blue, sunny weekend day there is an intense feeling of happiness, a drive to rush around enjoying oneself and cramming in as many fun activities as possible before the next set of smoggy days befalls us. So, after a great day, we often say to each other ‘That was an I love Beijing day!’. It can be a day doing whatever you want to do, but it’s always a day when you are happy, enjoying the sun and clean air and Beijing feels like the most perfect place!

This weekend was definitely an “I love Beijing” one.  After 5 days of smog, the air began to improve enough on Friday night to get out and about in Beijing. It was followed by two beautiful, sunny days on Saturday and Sunday. Here’s what made up my “I love Beijing!” weekend:

 

The Sky Was Blue

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Broken down part of the Great Wall, blossom- Beijing

Essential to any “I love Beijing!” weekend, the sky was blue, the weather warm and the air pollution almost non-existent.

 

Spring Arrived And So Did The Blossom

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Blossom in Beijing
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Blossom in Beijing

You can’t have a perfect Spring weekend in East Asia without enjoying the cherry blossom. This weekend the blossom was in full bloom. We walked amongst hundreds of trees in Yuyuantang Park and then, unexpectedly, saw hundreds more all over the mountains when we hiked the wild parts of the Great Wall. Breathtakingly beautiful.

 

We Ate Seriously Great Food

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Delicious Dumplings
Frozen Yoghurt, Beijing
Frozen Yoghurt, Beijing

We found the most amazing dumplings in Beijing (and well and truly put our Mandarin skills to the test). Every weekend I seem to find new contenders for my favourite food in Beijing (see here and here). It’s getting hard to decide and these dumplings were so delicious we ate 30 of them! We also went to our favourite veggie (actually vegan) restaurant, ate some amazing pizza, found a new frozen yoghurt place and basically, ate a lot of great stuff!

 

We Hiked The Wild Great Wall

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Justin during our ascent to the wall, Beijing
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Great Wall, Beijing

For the second time since arriving in Beijing, we hiked on a wild part of the Great Wall. I love outdoor exercise and you can’t beat scrambling up bits of ancient wall, the sun shining down on you and the hills full of cherry blossoms!

 

We Found New Places

Cafe, Beijing
Cafe, Beijing
Coffee, Beijing
Coffee, Beijing

My love for the Hutong is no secret. This weekend our latest “off piste” adventure (we like to just wander and see what we find) led us to discover new bars (one with the nicest owner I’ve ever met in Beijing), quiet outdoor courtyards for drinking beer in the moonlight, a tiny and amazing barista cafe (the lone barista made every cup of coffee with serious love and attention) and plenty of places to eat. Any day getting intentionally lost in the hutong is a good day. Also- this photo was propped up on a wall. I wonder who they are?

Mystery photo propped up in the hutong. Anyone know them?
Mystery photo propped up in the hutong. Anyone know them?

 

So, this was my “I love Beijing!” weekend. What makes a perfect “I love (insert your city/town/country here)” day for you?

 

 

22 thoughts on “What Exactly Is An “I Love Beijing!” Day?

  1. What an experience that must be, to wake up to a clear blue sky in Beijing! I would certainly take advantage of it to, and what a wonderful day it looks like you had. I love the cherry blossoms, and I’m jealous of the great food you must have!

  2. The blue skies in china seem few and far between lately so I understand wanting to make the most of them! Wow I didn’t know part of the wall was wild, I STILL haven’t visited the Great Wall at all yet which is kind of ridiculous!

    1. I know- I think China is taunting us with a few blue sky days then back to smoggy again! Oh, you should definitely get up to the wall sometime! Do let me know if you head this way! The wild parts of the wall are amazing! I can recommend a hiking group to go with (Beijing hikers- they are great).

  3. Incredible! I genuinely feel inspired by your posts to hang up my backpack somewhere and settle down for a while. I absolutely loved this – and the picture of the dumplings…. oh my gosh. Is it weird to maybe set that as my background?!
    I officially love Beijing! xx

    1. Thank you so much Lucy. That’s really nice of you to say and glad you love Beijing 🙂 Well, you can always get a little coffee shop in Burma 🙂 And oh yeh, go for it with the dumpling background haha- I think I’d just eat the screen if I did that! 🙂

  4. I’ve never heard of this saying before, but I am with you. I can completely relate to what you have written here. I have had my I heart and I hate China days for the past two years :). Sometimes I feel so tired of this country, but the day after I feel like I’m home!

    1. Glad you can related Agness. I know- one day I love this place and the next it’s so smoggy and I’m fed up. The I heart Beijing days are worth it though. 🙂

  5. I totally get what you are saying here. Once spring actually hit in Madrid, the whole vibe of the city changed. It was instant and everyone was on cloud 9. What a wonderful weekend you had! The blue skies and cherry blossoms are to die for. Also, how cool is it you can hike near the Great Wall?!

    1. It’s amazing what a difference the sun can make, isn’t it! The Great Wall hike was amazing! It’s the second time I’ve been to the ‘wild wall’ and they are two of my best days here! I wish I could do it every week as I’d be so fit- they are quite tough!

    1. Oh yes, of course- The Vegan place is called Veggie Table-it’s in Wudaoying Hutong. The frozen yoghurt was int he same hutong as was the cool barrista cafe. I can’t remember the name of the dumpling place- I’ll get back to you on that x

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