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Monday, 29 September 2014

The Old Summer Palace – the ruins.


This was the bit I wanted to see most, it gives some small idea of how the gateway must have once looked.

The ruins of the buildings at The Old Summer Palace are spread over a large area. To see large pieces of beautifully carved marble just lying around is really very sad. I am sure the buildings which once stood on this site were amazing, and although we didn’t see any of the ones that are left I have seen photos on Google of parts of the park that we missed and there are some lovely buildings.  If I get back out to Beijing again, this is one site I would happily revisit, and suspect that one day would just not be enough to see everything.




There are notices everywhere saying ‘no climbing’, but everyone was climbing over everything.


This must have been a beautiful lion statue.


We saw lots of people having their photos taken here.



Beautifully carved pieces of marble everywhere you looked.


Quite a few pieces have numbers on, maybe at some time in the future there will be some mini reconstructions like the gate in the first photo.



Alice standing beside a reconstructed door header.


And me with a silly grin…..lol


The centre of a pond, it looks like it is the base of a fountain.


This was what Alice wanted to see most of all – the remains of a once fantastic fountain.

Alice in front of the fountain.


What a fabulous sight this must have been when it was in working order.




Carved marble pieces everywhere you look, it is sad to see.


The gateway again, in the late afternoon sun, it is an amazing sight. I have seen photos of this with people climbing all over it, this area is now fenced off.


Close up photos of some of the carvings on the gateway.



Just to prove we really were there Smile


One more blog on the Old Summer Palace to come, below is a teaser photo, any idea what this lovely little pavilion is doing in the middle of the ruins?


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Old Summer Palace, Beijing.


When the idea of me going out to see Alice had first arisen, Alice had said one place she would love to go to was the Old Summer Palace. The Old Summer Palace, also know as YuanMingYuan (the gardens of Perfect Brightness, or The Imperial Gardens) is made up essentially of three gardens, and is over 864 acres in size. Most of the buildings were built in the Chinese style but there had been about 10 palaces built in the European style.


Beautiful Lotus flowers

  During the Second Opium War many of the beautiful buildings were destroyed by The French and English, with the result that all that is left of the Baroque buildings are ruins.




The day Alice and I visited the site was another really hot day, and we knew that the ruins were in the opposite corner of this vast park. We were both feeling a bit tired, but I had read that there were small carriages to take you to the ruins, so we looked out for them. We did not find the carriages but we did find the boats taking people along the waterways which looked very inviting so we decided to take a boat trip. The boats take you out to the ruins, so we paid our fare (which was the grand sum of £2 each!!) and got on the boat.





Travelling along the streams past the water lilies and fountains was wonderful, and as we were at the front of the boat it was a great photo opportunity for me. We finally got to the ‘transition’ station where we all got off the boat. This station marked the end of the streams, before us was a very large lake with the ruins on the far side. Coming across the lake was another boat like the one we had got off, but as we watched a speedboat came roaring across the lake, and, to our surprise some of us passengers were taken aboard and were treated to a speedboat journey across the lake to the ruins!! It was fantastic, and as neither of us had  been on a speedboat before it was very thrilling, but did not last long enough!!!!





Approaching the Transition Station, I did not get any photos from the speedboat as I was hanging on very tightly and enjoy the experience!

The next blog will be about the ruins, as they deserve a blog of their own.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Beihai Park, Beijing

Water lilies on the lake.


This was one place I really did want to re-visit, so after leaving the Forbidden City by the North Gate, we walked the few hundred yards to beautiful Beihai Park. We were looking forward to having our dinner, and a few drinks in the restaurant which overlooks the lake.



The first thing we saw as we entered the park was the lake filled with beautiful water lilies, and lots of people enjoying the sunshine on and off the water.


Beautiful Beihai


The Dagoba on the hill.

We then crossed the bridge to the island, and I looked to see if I could see the umbrellas of the restaurant – no umbrellas! It turned out that the restaurant was closed for refurbishment, which was such a shame. There was a lot of work going on, even blocking the path to the rest of the island, so we had to content ourselves with sitting by the lake, and just enjoying the peace and quiet.


Gazing across the lake, just enjoying the peace and quiet Smile

Pebble decorations on one of the pathways.

Pathway through the gardens, I think eventually they would lead you up to the Dagoba.