Palaces and ice cream

October 6th was another hazy day in Beijing. It wasn’t really haze though as you could taste the air and it didn’t taste good.

One of the things I had on my short list of things to go see was the Summer Palace and today was the day.

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It is a long way from Lucille and Curtis’s apartment to The Summer Palace and by the time we got out of the subway the taste was gone from the air but it was still not good for visibility.

It’s just a short walk from the subway to the Summer Palace and entered through the Northern Palace Gate and were soon climbing stairs to go explore.

Not far from the entrance is Suzhou Street. Ironically, it’s down some stairs. It’s a rather interesting name as it’s not a street but full of  shops and old residences around a canal.

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It would qualify more as an alley than street to me as the walkways are quite narrow around the canal.

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Obviously not a “Secret Escape Hatch”

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Just a few people

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Water lilies and a bridge

Typical of Chinese Royal areas, the building are stunning and there is a lot of detail in everything.

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Big enough for tour boats

 

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Oh look, tourists.

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More tourists.

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Still more tourists.

The Summer Palace seemed to be a popular place to be.

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I loved the peace of Suzhou Street and could of spent hours sitting by the canal watching the people but there was a lot more to see.

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Through the gate and up more stairs to The Four Great Regions area. Didn’t seem so great, nice maybe but not great.

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A big tree held up with steel poles

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Nice but not great

We still weren’t quite at the top of the hill and headed towards The Sea of Wisdom Temple. I stopped along the wall to take a photo of The Tower of Buddhist Incense.

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I’d call that great

We started working our way down the stairs towards the lake.

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A statue of Guanyin inside the Tower of Buddhist Incense (cast in 1574, five metres tall)

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Pavilion of Precious Clouds
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I found another quiet spot near The Hall of Moral Glory.

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Looking up the stairs

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Looking down the stairs

We finally found a flat spot.

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We made our way down to Kunming Lake. It is a rather large man made lake of about 2.2 square kilometers. The soil from the lake’s construction was used to build Longevity Hill. That was the 200 foot hill we just descended to get here.

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A lot of boat with the Seventeen-Arch Bridge in the background

We headed to the left and started to walk around the lake.

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A window in a lakeside cafe

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Getting closer to the Seventeen-Arch Bridge

It looks like a big bridge but with the haze it is hard to really tell.

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Wide angle view of Longevity Hill from the Seventeen-Arch Bridge

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Full zoom on Longevity Hill

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Nanhu Island

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As we walked around the lake the crush of people became less and less. We were heading towards the West Causeway and it’s 6 bridges.

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I loved the look of this bridge

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View from the top

We soon came to another bridge. I entered this photo in my camera club’s monthly competition for “Old Buildings.” One of the comments was, “Not a building.”

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This was as good as I could do with this photo in Photoshop

After we got our results back for the competition (I didn’t do so good) I posted the original image on our club Facebook site to show what I had to work with.

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Like all the photos in my blog from this trip I only edited the jpegs as I don’t have any RAW software yet.

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About as crowded as the path got.

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Since I like bridges, I took pictures of another one.

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Pavilion of Bright Scenery

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I’m pulling for the left one – she looks like she’s into it.

I found another bridge.

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This will look stunning in the spring.

And I found another bridge.

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Considered the most beautiful of the bridges on Kunming Lake

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Just to remind  you that you are still in China.

Last bridge along our walk.

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Poser

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Real boats and the Marble boat

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Tour boats at the dock.

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Dredging machine that looks abandoned.

We were on the north side of the lake now and decided to leave by the north gate.

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70th Anniversary to the end of WWII

As we were walking out we realized that the path was flat and we didn’t have to climb back up the hill to leave.

I saw this sign and realized just how big The Summer Palace grounds were. DSC01764

It was 2:00 pm when I took this one so that many people were probably there and around the lake you would of never guessed that.

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Gratuitious bus shot for Steve Parkin.

Since it wasn’t far, we walked over to The Old Summer Palace.

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The flowers at the entrance were beautiul.

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The Old Summer Palace is mostly ruins as it was destroyed in 1860 by British and French troops as the last act of the Second Opium War.

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I’m not sure what they are made out of but they are popular.

I found more flowers.

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We came to a canal and I really liked the look of it

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Selfie

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As we walked along we found the bridge to nowhere.

 

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She’s not blonde

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Walking around the grounds had me wonder how beautiful it must of been back in it’s heyday. Some of the grounds have been rebuilt but sadly it isn’t much and as it sits it is part of history and probably won’t ever be finished.

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Lucille being brave

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Look at her go

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Curtis staying safe

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It’s not that hard

There were a lot less people here than at The Summer Palace.

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This fellow was making circuits at a leisurely  pace.

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An almost empty park

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Not all of Beijing is crowded

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Historic drawing of Haiyantang

 

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Ceiling detail above the drawing.

It was time to go get some food. The Oreos and water I’d had at The Summer Palace were wearing off.

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Our exit gate.

We made our way back towards downtown and ended up at Great Leap Brewing #12.

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I honestly don’t remember what I had for my late lunch. I do know that each Great Leap specializes in different things. One does pizza and one does burgers and I don’t remember what the 3rd one does the most. I know the food was decent in all of them though.

As a treat/bribe to Curtis, Lucille agreed to eat here so we could go to Cows Ice Cream on the way home.

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Maple Walnut and it tastes just as good as at home.

Now we have to walk those calories off.

The Summer Palace was as beautiful as I had hoped and I enjoyed my day as much as when we went to The Great Wall. I am having the best time on my vacation and 2 of the days have been fabulous.

20,313 steps today.

I would of liked to have visited the Summer Palace on a sunny day, but it would of been a lot warmer (and it was warm enough for me as it was) and shadows would of been a concern for photos.

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