With only passports, carryon and a return ticket to Beijing we set off without plans for a month in China. The first night’s stay was to be in a hutong in Beijing. Hutongs are the narrow alleyways that crisscross east-west across the city and are full of humble abodes where many still live. These passageways were originally built in the Mongol Yuan dynasty, after Genghis Kan’s army reduced the city to rubble. During the Qing dynasty there were some 2000 hutongs and by the 1950’s there were over 6000. There is a real sense of community in these places. The alleyways are too narrow for cars so people must walk to their destination. In the evening many sit out on stools to visit with their neighbours. Sadly, these places are disappearing as these hutongs are being torn down and people are moving to modern high rises. The old Summer Palace is located north-west of the city centre. Here, lost in the beauty of acres of gardens, walkways, fountains, Shrines and Temples you will find the Eternal Spring Garden, the Garden of Yellow Flowers, the Perfection and Brightness Garden and the 10,000 Spring Garden. It is at one of the fountains that I spied a young Chinese couple gazing at the fountain and perhaps making a wish for their future.