Friday, July 18, 2014

Escaping Beijing; The Summer Palace, Beijing, PRC

The Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven
Beijing, PRC

We were warned.  It will be hot.  It will be humid. It will be overcast.  The pollution is off the charts. Perhaps this is why the last Empress Dowager Cixi of China was willing to rebuild the Summer palace instead of her navy.  Seems as though this didn't help her beat the Brits, but it sure did make for a fabulous escape from the city.  

Unlike the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace is open, spacious and downright breezy.  As our two lady guides paddled us across the lake, the boys and I felt like the Last Emperors

Almost as impressive, in a light and airy kind of way were the dumplings at the Du Yi Chu Imperial institution, opened in 1738 and discovered by the Emperor on his way home from a field trip a few years later. The pork dumplings put American buns to shame. 

The Imperial splendor of the Mings was also on display at the Temple of Heaven. Despite the long day, the boys were still willing to run up the stairs to this incredible monument to Confucius practice.  The surrounding cypress park, some trees over 800 years old was equally tranquil and inspiring.   We will miss Bejing and the Mings as we make our way back south.