Day: December 6, 2019
Available until Jan 6, 2020
Lauren and I decided to brave the cold and venture out again – this time to the Summer Palace.
The grounds are an ensemble of gardens, lakes and palaces covering 1.1 sq miles, and were used as an imperial garden during the Qing Dynasty.
Many of the buildings are on Longevity Hill, which is about 200 ft high. The rich colors of paint stand out so beautifully against that drab winter surroundings. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in the summer time.
We climbed many flights of stairs, which were surrounded by beautiful landscaping of rocks and trees opening up to Kunming Lake.
The temples on the Summer Palace grounds are so colorful and and some have statues of Buddah inside.
Ancient round entryways add character to the surroundings,
as well as short tunnels leading to the various areas.
On a small lake, picturesque boathouses stood frozen in time – waiting for the spring thaw when tourists flood the grounds to enjoy the scenery.
Each entry way is elaborate, welcoming you into the next area.
Since the Palace was not built for long periods of stay, but rather a place to be briefly visited and enjoyed, long corridors were constructed with many intricate paintings throughout them.
The Qianlong Emperor enjoyed peaceful walks through these corridors, stopping to rest in various gazebo’s like this one that my nutty niece is posing in.
When glancing up at the ceiling in the gazebo’s, one can see the attention to detail and creativity displayed.
The Stone Boat is 12 meters long and is a replacement of the original wooden boat which was burnt in 1860.
As temperatures plummeted at sunset, Lauren and I made our way along Kunming Lake where monks walked and crowds gathered for beautiful pictures.
Our fingertips burned – feeling frozen, but each minute brought with it another beautiful hue of the setting sun against beautiful buildings.
The Palace, which cost 4.8 million silver taels, can be seen a more clearly from the opposite side of the lake. It rises up three tiers and is surrounded by gardens and walls.
Lake Kunming is man made, and soil that was removed to make the lake was used to create the hill of Longevity where the palace is.
As we made our way to the exit gates, we couldn’t help but notice how quickly the temperature was dropping, feeling the cold reaching deep into our limbs and joints. I jokingly told Lauren that I think the hardware in my lower back was frozen too.
We are proud of ourselves because we are quite comfortable using the metro system now, and after over 7 miles of walking we bought our tickets and climbed aboard – ready to return to the hotel to tell Danny about the beautiful things we’d seen.