Beijing has no shortage of destinations for the tourist to explore. With so much culture and history, the city is littered with historic sites – from temples to gardens to palaces. One of my favorites is The Summer Palace (颐和园), a magnificent garden originally built for the one of the Qing dynasty’s ruling emperors. With a lake, rolling hills, and awe-inspiring architecture, it truly is a sight to see and should not be missed for anyone spending any amount of time in Beijing.
Lotus Educational Foundation led the afternoon outing to The Summer Palace, which was fantastic because Zoe and Linda (employees here at LEF) had been there several times before and were able to give us an unparalleled tour of the garden grounds. Although the weather was overcast and cloudy, the sites did not disappoint. I enjoyed trying to read as many characters as I could (helped along gently by Zoe and Linda whenever I would falter) and the short hike up Longevity Hill for a sweeping look over the entire garden was absolutely spectacular.
The various buildings, shrines, and artwork throughout the garden are really marvelous. The lake was speckled with paddle-boats and canoes for the more adventurous and even had some people reclining, sipping tea on the fancier tour boats. I especially enjoyed the giant marble boat (no longer up and running) that somehow used to maneuver its way across the water.