Need backpacker insurance? Save money with this World Nomads Promotional Code!
One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

Berlin (and as I do with anything deeply historical). I considered the punishment someone could get for lobbing an egg at Mao's image. I figure it would be rotting your life away nameless in a Chinese prison (just imagine the toilets). Very different from a society such as ours whereby you can happily egg John Prescott and pretty much get away with it.

Through the Gate the parade led up towards the Gate of the Forbidden City - a huge walled area of Beijing that for hundreds of years was the realm of The Emperor and his servants and a strictly no-go area for common people during the Imperial rule. It's now one of Beijing's premier tourist attractions.

I bought a ticket and followed a steady stream of mostly Chinese but also a fair smattering of Western tourists through various huge gates and courtyards. Unfortunately some of the buildings were covered by lovely scaffolding, undergoing much-needed restoration as they were falling apart. The grandeur of the place didn't hit me until I entered the City proper.

It was a City within a City, a warren of little alleyways you could explore that led to Palaces, Royal Residences or little courtyards with big brass urns and sculptures of cranes or lions. The tourist lump was soon broken up into scatterings of people here and there, sitting in