Monday, May 26, 2014

Beijing - the Summer Palace

I first read about the Summer Palace in the book, 'Flashman and the Dragon'.  Flashman takes part in the march to Peking during the Second Opium War in 1860, is captured by the Chinese and imprisoned in the Summer Palace. The Emperor's chief concubine takes a fancy to him so his imprisonment is not all bad. He witnesses the destruction and burning of the original Summer Palace. 

I took the subway out to the Palace and it is a short walk to the Northern Entrance. Again, the subway cost just 2 yuan (30 cents). There were a lot of Chinese visiting the Palace that day.

I paid the entrance fee and entered. As usual, I won't give a lot of description and just let the photos speak for themselves.

Most signs mention the burning of 1860.

You will see a lot of photos of Chinese people in this blog. They walked much slower than their pace in the city. Visiting the Summer Palace is a relaxing day out for them.

Some of the buildings were now used as restaurants or tea houses.

The famous Marble Boat. Flashman's concubine 'friend' came to power and ordered it to be built. 

Remember those doorways at the stations in the blog about the train down to Beijing.

I sat for a while on this chair and contemplated the architecture of this little courtyard. It was all peaceful and quiet.

The start of the long corridor.

The young Chinese women wear colourful outfits. Perhaps it is a reaction to the uniforms of the Mao era. 

You really have to protect those World Heritage Listing railings.

There were very few Caucasians and lots of Chinese taking photos of each other.

The Shing La school must have 100,000 pupils and they were all visiting the Summer Palace. They were having a great time.

The level of pollution was high again. In the distance would be central Beijing which you could probably see on a clear day.

The small children are really cute. Their parents and grand parents really dote on them.

I think she was writing her name with a brush loaded with water.

I did not go into the main temples since I figured the crowds would be enormous.

The occupants of these boats were having a water fight to the shrieks of all.

Suddenly the crowds thinned out and the walk became more peaceful.

They were watering the grass and also the benches so there was no place to sit down.

The bridge is at the southern end of the lake and I had been walking down the eastern side. My plan was to circumnavigate the lake by walking along the narrow isthmus.

The pollution haze.

This was the quiet area with small groups and families sitting around on the ground. It was all very peaceful.

This walk along the causeway was for me the best part of the Summer Palace.

I stopped for a beer and it was most welcome.

The prices of all items sold within the Summer Palace grounds was displayed. No haggling here or special high prices for foreigner.

Planes took off from a nearby airport every couple of minutes.

I tried to stop romping but failed.

The end of the Palace gardens.

Was Lord Elgin make the right decision when he ordered the Palace to be burned? Read the Flashman book and make up your own mind.

My sister Clare reckons that this was her favourite part of Beijing. I would have to agree with her. I suspect the Chinese would agree because you don't see any litter strewn about.

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