Saturday, March 30, 2013

Palaces in the Mist

Next, we headed to the Summer Palace. We took a taxi, which cost about 10 dollars for a 30 minutes drive. Our hostel didn't want us to take a taxi because it would be too expensive at 10 dollars...that's how cheap things were in China. The subway would have taken a long time and we didn't want to wander around outside the subway wasting time.

The palace was the summer vacation palace of an emperor in the 1700s and various other times since them.
 It was a bit smoggy/foggy at the palace.
Here's what the bridge would look like not in misty weather.

Here's the palace on other days.
This is what it looked like while we were there, which was annoying. But, it was still quite beautiful even through the mist.

Here I am with large smear over my face and the misty palace in the background

 The palace is barely visible through the mist.
 Me without a smear on my face with the palace behind me.

The largest of the gates at the Summer Palace, built in 1750, burned down by the French and English in the 1860s, then re-built. The two towers symbolize the support of the empire by warriors and scholars

The sun trying to peek through the trees.

On the map (which Anna accidentally dropped in the squatting toilet) this ox looked extremely large and important. It was a little smaller than we expected, but still cool

Here I am with the strange animals at the front of the bridge.

I call them strange animals, because the sign said that the bridge was lined with 500 stone lions and 4 "strange animals" on each end of the bridge.

More buildings through the mist.

 The lions.
 A lion.
 Another lion.

 A lion fixing her hair.
 A lion and her baby
Another lion and her baby.

 A tree that could not hold itself up.

According to the sign, this is the Seventeen-Arch Bridge, named because it has 17 arches.

The temple formerly known as the Dragon God Temple and now known as the Temple of Extensive Moisture...which apparently was working excessively the day we were visiting. It was built in the mid-1700s.

 The Hall of Embracing the Universe built in the 1700's.  Apparently this is where the emperors and empresses watched the moonlight here and the naval maneuvers, which were listed as equally important on the sign.

 They has a long walkway that was beautifully painted. Here I am with the beautifully painted walkway and a random man in the background looking suspicious.

 Yellow for the emperor again.

We spent a lot of time trying to get up to the summer palace. We went up various walk ways, which involved multiple hills and a lot of stairs, which wouldn't be a big deal, except that we'd climbed the great wall the day before and were extremely sore. That and apparently you can't go up to the palace, so we always ended up at the same place: The other side of a wall with no door.

I'm in the crowd if you want to play Where's Waldo.

The baby under the dragon's foot, which makes her a female dragon.
 The female.
The male.
 Here  I am with the male dragon, who appears to be looking at me.

Mind the hilly road.

The sun still making no progress in breaking through the mist.

 a rock frog?

Afterwards, we headed to an area near a man made lake for dinner, since supposedly there were lots of restaurants. There were a lot of bars and singing rooms, but we eventually found a restaurant.

They did have a ton of souvenir shops with cheap items that were very nice, so I did my souvenir shopping here.

The restaurant served a wide variety of turtle, but we went with pork and chicken instead, which was delicious.

They also served duck tongue, duck liver and duck head.

And a whole duck.

They also adorned our plates with what we assumed was the soy sauce that we'd had with our duck a couple days before.

Anna put her chicken through it.

It was chocolate sauce.

Afterwards, we went to get green tea ice cream at a shop we went to 2 days earlier, but it was torn out and being reconstructed. So no more ice cream, which was unfortunate.

The next day, we headed to various temples, which I will write about later! The weather was wonderful the next day.

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