Summer Palace

A small group of my family and friends arrived in Beijing in the early morning on Saturday, July 31.  It was so awesome (and a bit surreal) to greet them later that morning when we too arrived at the hotel.  Here we all were in China!

Determined to help them beat jet lag as fast as possible, we planned to keep them occupied all afternoon and evening so that they would sleep soundly that night.  While Tian and her parents set up the hotel, I took the group, by way of the newest subway line (#4), out to the Summer Palace, which for many centuries was a major summer resort for the emperors.  The central feature of the park is Kunming Lake, which is surrounded by hilltop temples, historic corridors, and flowering gardens.

A map of the summer palace area.

We came in the north side of the park and hiked over the hill and down toward the lake.  After touring the walkways, pavilions, and old living areas on the shoreline, we climbed back up and over one more time.  All the touring, in addition to the 45 minutes subway right both ways, satisfied everyone on sightseeing for the day and left the newbies worn out.  Mission accomplished.  Here are some pictures from the day.

A view of our group (minus Mary, who took the picture) with the famous Cloud Dispelling Hall in the background.

Another group shot near the peak of "Longevity Hill."

My favorite feature is the winding covered walkways on the north side of the lake. The woodwork and thousands of unique paintings have been beautifully restored, although it still looks weathered.

Pat & Vicky enhancing the already stunning appearance of one of the walkway's pavilions.

Afterwards, the entire group re-assembled for dinner.

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