Summer Palace

On our last trip to China our group went to the Summer Palace and we went with them. There was one problem, Katrine was under the weather so none of us properly experience the park. Today was different in that aside from sore feet, we are all healthy.

We have been taking the subway in Beijing as it is easy to navigate and pretty darn cheap. It took us from down the street from our hutong, right to one of the park gates. The park is physically overwhelming due to its size and to really experience it to the fullest in terms of its history and culture we should have had a guide. That said, we throughly enjoyed what we saw and I recalled enough of my late Ching history facts to give it some context when needed. The girls favourite parts were the weeping willow trees and the vibrant pink lotus blossoms that gathered at the sides of the lake and canals. Looking at them, you couldn’t help but smile. They are just a happy colour. We also enjoyed looking at the stone boat and Peking Opera facility and imagining the Dowager Empress sitting on them in all of her splendour. The lake in the middle of the park is so peaceful with all of the boats gliding across it, that it is easy to forget that it is a man made lake dug completely by hand AND it is huge. Oh, and I also learned that the chinese used forced air under the floor heating to warm the theater building for the imperial family. I mean, who would have thought that you could use burning wood to heat a floor. There was also a small gallery of imperial artifacts. There was paper thin porcelin that you could see the light through that was gorgeous. Plus, examples of highly detailed carved jade. Both white and various shades of green. It was a small gallery but if I am honest, just big enough for the girls.

We grabbed the subway to Wangfujian for some dinner. On our last trip, Glenn and Katrine lived on dumplings from this one shop. Our trip would not have been complete without a stop there tonight. Unfortunately they have not stood the test of time and were not as good as in memory. As we were walking to get the girls a final fruit stick, we passed dancing fountains so paused to watch the show. Both girls enjoyed watching the way that the various jets were co-ordinated to the music and us adults quite enjoyed it too.

We finished up our last full day in Beijing with a cup of tea in the courtyard. Tomorrow morning we are hoping to stroll around Beihai Park and taking in both the natural beauty as well as normal city life. After a quick lunch we will be starting our journey homeward.