You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘beijing’ tag.

The Summer Palace (Yihe Yuan) was slowly constructed and reconstructed over many centuries, but it is best known as the summer retreat of Empress Dowager Cixi. It’s amazing that a sanctuary like this exists in the heart of Beijing–I felt immediately transported to a different time and place. Kind of like the Central Park experience, except taken to a whole new level. It’s very tempting to get lost within the park’s many temples, pavilions, bridges, and walkways–looking at the map, we were only able to get through 1/10 of the Palace. My mother used to spend her summers in Beijing as a child exploring the Palace everyday. She still knows her way around by heart, and it was nice to imagine her as a 8-year old, bouncing over the same stone steps that we now revisit together as a family.

Tower of the Essence of the Buddha

Tower of the Essence of the Buddha

img_6668

Lion sculpture on Bridge

summer paddle boats, now sequestered by ice

summer paddle boats, now sequestered by ice

Seventeen Arch Bridge, from a distance

Seventeen Arch Bridge, from a distance

On the bridge

On the bridge

Seventeen Arch Bridge, another view.

Seventeen Arch Bridge, another view.

Water brush calligraphy

Water brush calligraphy

Long Corridor

Long Corridor

Next time, I would like to go to the less visited YuanMing Yuan. It’s the counterpart to the Summer Palace (Now called the Old Summer Palace) that was built in Western style architecture, and was largely destroyed during the Second Opium War in the 19th Century.  It was never rebuilt however, and now serves as a reminder to the Chinese as what the West once did to China. Apparently, lots of Chinese history classes go there on field trips.

Advertisements

I finally realize why family normally skips going to China over winter break. It’s just too cold! Beijing is colder than Boston in the winter, and with much less heating in public places (people in the US who think they are doing a ton to save energy by using revolving doors and taking the stairs have no idea what other countries accept as the norm. How about never even turning the heat on?). However, after watching Matt Lauer parade around Beijing all summer, we just couldn’t resist a trip to the Olympic Village tourist trap.

the bird's nest

the bird's nest

awkward guard, guarding... we didn't know what. the stadium was smaller than it looked on tv

awkward guard, guarding... we didn't know what. the stadium was smaller than it looked on tv

Water Cube

Water Cube

it was warm and toasty inside, so we lingered.

it was warm and toasty inside, so we lingered.

oh, phelps.

oh, phelps.

the sculptures in the surrounding village were some of the most beautiful parts

the sculptures in the surrounding village were some of the most beautiful parts

coming back for a nightview -- china has a minor obsession with lighting up buildings at night in funky colors

coming back for a nightview -- china has a minor obsession with lighting up buildings at night in funky colors

I think I was too cold to enjoy this when I took it. Save yourself and don't come to Beijing in the winter.

I think I was too cold to enjoy this when I took it. Save yourself and don't come to Beijing in the winter.

There were lots of street sellers milling around the courtyards, hawking outdated olympic memoribilia or offering to take “expert” pictures for tourists for 5 yuan.  Don’t they realize that everyone has their own digital cameras now?  It made me sad that they had to brave the elements every day to offer fairly redundant services like this.  Here’s to having warm, indoor jobs, no matter how mundane.

Up next? Summer Palace. Oh, the irony.