Beijing Summer Palace
Sunday 17th July
The Summer Palace is a massive complex — over 300 hectares, including
some huge lakes — so it didn't matter that we visited on a weekend
when it was full of people: it's big enough that it didn't feel crammed.
The Summer Palace is 15km
out of central Beijing and there's plenty to see, so it's worth spending
day there. We paid 50 yuan each to get in. The taxi from the city
centre was 100 yuan; we caught ordinary city buses back for 2 yuan each.
There are many entrances; we started with Suzhou Street. This consists
of shops on both banks of a small lake/river, selling food and drink and
tourist items, all in "traditional" style. It's very touristy, but since
a large part of the period it's trying to capture is "bustling commerce",
that doesn't spoil the effect.
the view from the summit
Next we climbed the highest hill, which was covered in Buddhist temples
and shrines. There wasn't much of a long view because of the haze.
We descended from there to the lake, where we had lunch, "SHREDDDGED
DOLK WITH BAMBOO SHOOLS AND GANLIC".
We caught the ferry across to the other side, where there are lots of
museums, flowers, gardens, and so forth.
We caught ordinary city buses back to our hotel, which was extraordinarily
cheap; it took two buses, and was quite fun except that I had to stand
for the second trip. Peter ordered a chop — a Chinese seal —
for his grandson from one of the shops near the hotel.
Next: Watchtower + Temple of Heaven
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