Monday, April 28, 2014

Beijing Summer Palace

Pipkin and Domo didn't get the best weather the day they visited the Summer Palace, so sadly, the views are fuzzy. The Summer Palace was built as a luxurious garden for the royals to relax and entertain their guests. The Summer Palace is not to be confused with the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of the emperors, or Chengde Mountain Resort, the summer playground of the emperors. The emperors sure liked their lavish palaces and playgrounds.

In the photo above, Pipkin is looking across Kunming Lake at the Tower of Buddhist Incense. If it were a nicer day, Pipkin would have climbed the steep steps up the Tower's stone foundation to take in the views of the lake.

Another pretty feature of the Summer Palace is the Seventeen Arch Bridge, which you can just make out through the smog. It crosses the shore of Kunming Lake to Nanhu Island.

Domo saw lots of other tourists rubbing this urn outside the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, so he figured he'd do the same.

Seemingly anachronistic, this phone, installed around the turn of the 20th century, was inside one of the grand palace buildings. Pipkin got a boost from a visitor so he could pose for this picture. Cute!

The Long Corridor is one of the main features of the Summer Palace. It spans 728 metres east to west, and is the longest corridor in a classic Chinese garden. It was built so Emperor Qianlong's mother could walk outdoors regardless of the weather, to take in the views of the garden year round. The gallery has 273 "rooms" and four octagonal pavilions, each representing a season of the year. Although the paint has faded, you can see it was very intricately painted.

In one of the courtyard gardens, Pip and Domo played a little game of hide and seek.

Pipkin imagines the Summer Palace is a very pretty place to visit on a clear, sunny day, maybe in late spring or early summer when all the plants are in bloom. It wasn't the best day to visit, but at least they had a little fun. A lot of people use the grounds today for exercise and play, and relaxing rides on the lake. It's nice that it's not just for the royals anymore!

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