The Summer Palace

After all that last night, I stayed up late talking with another guest from Switzerland. He’s on a six month sabbatical that he recieved for working for the same company for ten years. Oh, America. How backwards you can be. He’s also going to New Zealand and shared some notes about it from another guest he met.  

Early starts are never going to happen. I book the Great Wall Jinshanling section through the hostel for tomorrow. I eat breakfast. 

 Belly full, it’s off to the subway for another long day. Get ready for another long post. 

Summer Palace time! Despite paying an entrance fee, you have to pay for a map separately. Really? It’s a nice map for sure but I already have one from a guide book. 

 I decide to leave Longevity Hill for last as the lighting will get better toward the end of the day. I take the path to the right and follow the trail toward the Marble Boat. 

I figure if I keep going along the water, I’ll reach most of the sites or at least sign posts. Good strategy. I reach the long corridor. It reminds me of the row of torii gates at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto. People are just hanging out on the railings. Every beam is painted and I don’t think the scenes repeat themselves. A woman stops me and says something about my plant clips. Not sure if it’s good or bad… I don’t understand. It’s not the first reaction I get. I think they’re surprised a white girl is interested in their trends– for better or worse. 





I keep going and halfway through the corridor I reach the entrance to the Longevity Hill. I make note of it and keep going. I come across a few quiet spots and I’m all over the round doors. 

Halfway through, my camera starts signaling low battery. Ugh! I meant to recharge the battery last night but forgot! I conserve my camera and start using my phone. It works out in the end. 

Now let’s see if I can remember which is which. This is the Garden of Virtue and Harmony. It’s an opera theater whose actors entertained the Empress Dowager Cixi. 


one of the box seats
the stage

This guy is from the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity.   

I’m getting tired so I take an ice pop break and enjoy the lakeside view. 


I saw this guy practicing his calligraphy. He didn’t seem pleased that I took a photo.    

I backtrack to Longevity Hill to start the climb up the stairs to the Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha. I am not making up these names. It looks higher than it actually is. I expected more stairs but the views are lovely all the same. 

One thing I’ve figured out about Chinese people is that I’m invisible. Whether it’s the line cutting yesterday or just now, the guy who steps in front of me as I’m taking a picture. So I wait for him and then get a great shot. The view!


Once again, Buddha no photo. I sit for awhile taking in the view and people watching. I eventually wander over to the exit but the complex keeps going. Rock paths lead to new landings and shrines. 

This is the Temple of the Sea of Wisdom. You guessed it– a gaint buddha statue inside. Also like the other buildings, it’s so dark inside it’s hard for your eyes to adjust. 

Here’s the long way down. 


So close to the end! I’m near the beginning again. The last stop is Suzhou Street. The areas are closing up now and the street is fairly empty with some of the shops closed. It’s mostly tourists stuff. I like the setting though. 

 That’s the end of the Summer Palace. But wait! There’s more!

On the way back I stopped by the Olympic Park to see the stadiums lit up. The area is huge and they’ll be hosting an event next month. 





Add yours →

  1. You would think given that you are wearing The Latest Trends, you wouldn’t be so damn invisible!

    I super duper love all of these photos of the buildings because they are beautiful but I really like the Olympics stuff <3.


  2. When I went to switzerland there were a lot of Chinese tourists around and they would push michal and I and cut us in line! We got mad, but over it quickly lol. Must be the culture.


  3. Beijing is so majestic! The calligrapher, was he drawing with water? Super beautiful.


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