On my first trip to China, while in Beijing I stayed in a hostel nestled in a traditional hutong. It was a highlight even then. I loved stepping out the door and heading off into the maze of narrow alleys and unique architecture. There are so many taxis in Beijing, I felt comfortable getting lost as long as I had with me the hostel’s name and address written in Chinese characters. The home in this photo was directly across the street from my hostel. I returned to the same hostel the following year. In the ramp-up to the Beijing Olympics, the government had razed the traditional buildings and replaced them with 2-story square boxes. This sweet home no longer exists. Having had the last-minute opportunity to experience a real hutong has become not just a highlight of my first trip to China, but of all of my trips around the world.