Escape to the Summer Palace

Trip Start Jul 28, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Well I woke up this morning feeling like I had pneumonia, with a sore throat, watery eyes, and nasal passages that had been cemented shut.  Cigarette smoke was still wafting into my room.  I had to get out again, but where to go?  And then a thought dawned on me...if I need to get out of the grime of Beijing, why not go where the Emperors (and even a few Empresses) went?  And so I decided to take the subway and a bus 12km out of the city to the former royal families' vacation digs, the Summer Palace.
Last time I was in Beijing, I, of course, toured the former royal families' inner-city digs, the Forbidden City.  You have no choice, really.  If you want to call yourself a tourist in Beijing, the Forbidden City is the first place you go.  (The second is the Great Wall.)  The Forbidden City, also known as the National Palace, is where the Emperors lived for most of the year.  I went there twice in 2005, but didn't have time to make it out to the Summer Palace.  Today, there was time. 
Unfortunately, the air wasn't much cleaner 12km outside the city than it was in my youth hostel room, but it was great to jump around the royal temples, pagodas, hills, hallways, and paths.  The Summer Palace is surrounded by nature and has a lake in the back.  From what I learned touring the Forbidden City, the lake and the hills were most likely manmade, but they do the trick.  That's the cool thing about being Emperor.  If you don't like the landscape, just change it.  I had a great day taking in the change of scenery and I hope you enjoy the pictures!
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