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nomadnorrie From Sydney to the formula 1 grand prix in Shanghai, Beijing, South Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine and Europe. Final destination by train is London. Hopping on a flight to Finland, then on to Japan and finally back to Sydney.

The summer Palace in Beijing

CHINA | Sunday, 16 December 2007 | Views [6765]

Empress Dowager Cixi paid for this marble boat to be built with Navy funds!

Empress Dowager Cixi paid for this marble boat to be built with Navy funds!

I've not been doing much lately apart from going to Mandarin classes and watching classic Zhang Yimou (director of Hero) films at night. Today the weather was clear so I decided do something outside, although the sun was shining it made very little difference to the temperature - it was still flaming cold.

Incindently one of Zhang's films is well worth watching, 一个都不能少 or "Not One Less".

The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is a little further away from the city centre than most other attractions so I'd still not been there until this weekend. The Summer Palace was used by Qing emperors to keep cool in the summer months. In summer Beijing is as fiercely hot as the winter is cold. The palace consists mostly of a huge lake, a medium sized hill and a small marble boat. There are also gardens, a temple, pagoda and landscaped walkways joining everything up.

I got a look at everything early enough to complete the walk all the way around the lake before closing. The scenery is very much like Beihai lake but it has a few things that were worth looking at. The marble boat for one, Empress Cixi had it built with funds earmarked for the Navy. There are the remains of a very small Navy training base inside the Summer Palace, the information board said it was used by Empress Cixi to pilfer funds for the marble boat - obviously a much more pressing need.

Outside temperatures are now down to -10 overnight so not surprisingly most of the lake is already frozen. There were people walking on the ice in some places, and in one spot, where there was a big gap in the ice, a rowdy group of Chinese guys went for a brief swim.

Spending so many hours outside left me colder than I can remember. I hot cup of tea did nothing to warm me up, in the end I retreated back to my hotel early.

Since it is going to get colder still and I shall be here for a few more weeks I decided to invest in a fluffy lined pair or gloves and some long johns (Al Swearengen style).

Tags: Sightseeing



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