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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 a whole 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.

Suzhou Street
stone table

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.

a stone ship
I wasn't the only one with a camera
writing with water

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.

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