The Summer Palace – China: Day 2
It seems that even though I was writing every day through the month of February, I never got around to writing about my trip to China.
We started Day 2 at the Great Wall, from there we went to the Summer Palace. It was built as a summer resort for the King, and according to our tour guide, the king’s many mistresses. Along with being a UNESCO Heritage Site and therefore a huge tourist attraction, the palace grounds are also visited by locals who want to enjoy the beautiful park grounds in a city where there is not a huge amount of green space.
The lake, Kumming Lake, covers 2.2km and it was entirely man-made. The small mountain to the right of the lake was actually made from the dirt that was excavated from the lake. Some of the names for things in China are great, in this case the mountain is named Prosperity Hill. Other great names include the Summer Palaces original title, the Garden of Clear Ripples, and the literal translation of its current name, Gardens of Nurtured Harmony.
The Marble Boat. This was the part of the tour where I had started to wander away from our tour guide, so I don’t really know anything about it. I figure either it’s not really made of marble, or it’s not really a boat. Maybe both.
One of several very impressive gates decorating the grounds of the Summer Palace.
Our tour guide specifically told us not to go on the ice, and paired with this sign we decided not to risk it. Clearly though, there are many people who have no problem walking past a sign that says not to do the thing they are about to do.
After we left the Summer Palace, our tour guide said that we could stop at the Beijing Olympic Park on our way to dinner. That brings my total number of Olympic Parks visited to, well, 2. For some reason I’ve never been to the one in Montreal. Anyways, it was really cool to see the Bird’s Nest up close, and it looks quite different from how I remember seeing it on TV. We also saw the Water Cube, but didn’t have time to get too close to it. The Water Cube does however constantly change colour which made me doubt my sanity for a moment, “Wasn’t the Water Cube green a moment ago?”.
All in all, my second day in China was by far the busiest but I think it would also have to be my favourite day of the trip. Days 3 and 4 to come soon … or two months from now, it’s hard to say for sure.