The Summer Palace, I think this may become my favorite place to visit in Beijing. It’s still winterish here (we got snow last night) so things are just starting to come alive again, but nonetheless the Summer Palace is beautiful. There was a sort of lonely solitude that accompanied the place. It’s not exactly a palace in the way that we might imagine, with visions of Marie Antoinette’s many apartments. Instead it’s an imperial garden situated on a large lake with a few major prayer halls like The Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha.
I’d like to come back in the Spring when the willows and cherry blossoms are blooming. They have little boats that you can take out on the water, for now there are still parts of the lake that are frozen so the boats aren’t out quite yet. You enter the summer palace pretty much in between that tower and this bridge…
crossing the bridge placed you on a small peninsula on the lake, a quiet little place with a fantastic vantage point across the entire lake, you see that scattered around the perimeter are various pagodas and smaller structures. You can imagine that the emperor’s would spend the day traveling the palace grounds. In the summer time it must have been stunning.
We made our way back to where we entered, and began the walk to the Buddha Tower, you can walk through a cluster of smaller buildings filled with antiques, giving you a little something more to see on your way around the lake. Arriving at the Tower is a bit overwhelming the structure literally towers over you, a series of zigzagging staircases meet you as you venture towards the top. You can see the entire expanse of the lake from the top. It’s been a miserable few days pollution-wise (we’ve been in the middle of sandstorm for the last 2 days, thankfully the rain and snow last night cleared the air) so you couldn’t see to far out, but I could make out a little bit of the Beijing skyline. I’m sure on a clear spring day the view is amazing.
I’m looking forward to going back in April and taking a boat out onto the lake, maybe packing a picnic and sitting and writing a little.
too many photos to choose from this time