A little place in the country

Our final day in beijing took us via the metro to the Summer Palace. The metro is a constantly growing beast with modern trains some with the doors on the platform. All very easy except getting on and off. The concept of allowing people off the train first is definately not a Beijing custom. Passengers prepare for the exit ready to bulldoze their way out. Having to change lines a couple of times meant we got some practice in. I am pleased to say we did not let the country down, serious bodychecking was applied. The Chinese are also experts at that too, even the smallest lady can take you out but in a sort of ninja style that you don’t see coming.

We entered via the north gate via Beigongmen station. The guide says you need all day to explore but having entered and seen the way ahead blocked for work we were disappointed. So we went round the hill accidently and at that point you realise how huge it is. The palace itself was built as a summer escape for the imperial court. Many of the great many temples and pavilions have been rebuilt as the French and British troops vandalised it in the opium wars in 1856, then different foreigners burnt it down in 1900. In 1949 they started rebuilding it. Below the hill lies Kunming lake which 100,000 people helped build in the 18c. The lake was completely frozen with a selection of brave or mad people walking across it. The whole place was very pretty and entering from the north gate very steep (again).

We liked the place busy as it was. KT sang Summer Palace to the tune of Summer loving, the chinese stared (which they do everywhere at us), we went home.

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