We leave Beijing today so checked bags needed to be out at 7 am and we were to turn in our room keys and be on the bus at 8 am. After a wonderful seven hours of sleep, I was up about 5 am and used the extra time or organize and pack suitcases and backpack.
Before heading out of town though we are visiting two sites.
Everyone was on the bus on time and we headed to a pearl factory. While on the way Lisa told us about the chinese empress known as the dragon lady. She tied into the pearl factory and summer palace visits.
At the pearl factory, we had a 10 minute presentation and they indicated the dragon lady’s skin was kept youthful by face cream with pearl dust.
I don’t buy that story but of course later we would be offered a special price for pearl dust cream. 🙂
After the presentation we were led to the “golden room” where she talked about the different pearls and said for Sinorama there was 40% discount. A few people shopped but prices were still high after the markdown.
Since I wasn’t in the market for skin cream or pearls, I chatted with tour mates until it was time to board the bus again.
We then drove about 5-10 minutes to the Summer Palace. The summer palace was a cooler respite in the hot summers for the royal families.
As a group we walked through the East gate.
After walking through the gate, we had a tower in front of us. Walking to the side led to the lake.
We had a few minutes to admire the lake and view.
The lily pads must be beautiful in the summer. That tower in the distance is the Tower of Buddhist Incense which is in the center of the Temple of Buddhist Virtue.
There were many people using water bottles with sponges on the end of sticks to “paint” calligraphy on the walkway. This was a hobby for them.
Some of the group that has difficulty walking stayed in this area (there was a coffee shop there) and others followed Lisa and John on a fast-paced tour to some of the sights.
After learning about the three buildings in the photo above (The Hall of Jade Ripples) we were led to what is called the long walkway and given 35 minutes to explore it all (which is an impossible task).
I continued walking with a smaller group from our tour and got a closer shot of the Tower of the Buddhist Incense.
We came to the Paiyun Gate which is also known as the cloud-dispelling gate. Unfortunately the sun wasn’t positioned ideally.
At last we arrived at the Marble Boat which was my turnaround point.
I practically sprinted back to the meeting point so as to not be late.
The one photo I didn’t get was of the long walkway so am sharing a photo by Kallgan. This is the longest covered walkway in the world.
Once we all were back together, Lisa led us to the courtyard in front of the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity.
The hall is guarded by bronze statues including the phoenix…
And the dragon.
In the courtyard there is an unusual statue of what I learned later is a mythological create called a Kylin. It has a dragon head, lion tail, deer horn, and cattle hoof. Per legend, the Kylin guards against destruction by fire.
There were also stoves in front of the Hall which I presume were used for burning prayers.
After a little time to look on our own or visit the gift shop to the left side of the courtyard, the group left the Summer Palace. This was a wonderful place and I wish we had 2-3 more hours to explore it all.
Here is a video from my fellow tour guest, Doug Ho:
Don’t miss the previous China posts linked below.
Going to China (tour and visa)
China: Trip Preparations
November 12-13, 2016: Travel to Beijing
November 14, 2016: Beijing and Great Wall
November 14, 2016: Ming Tombs and Peking Duck Dinner
West International Trade Hotel Beijing
November 15, 2016: Hutong and Temple of Heaven
November 15, 2016: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Beijing Opera