(new) Summer Palace

6/10

Cost: adults Y60 each, kids Y30 each

When we first moved to Beijing, we noticed on a map that the Summer Palace was a tourist attraction on our side of town (it’s in far northwestern Beijing), but it’s sort of hard to get to by subway from our neighborhood because there isn’t a north/south running subway line as far west as we lived. We also saw that the double-decker buses in our neighborhood went there so we made a plan to ride the double-decker bus to the Summer Palace. And then we didn’t do it for almost two years! Some of the bigger tourist destinations we kept putting off for nice days and weekends when B could go with us. We finally tackled the Summer Palace on June 10.

 On the top level of the double-decker bus on the way to the Summer Palace.

 

We entered via the north gate and walked through Suzhou Street. It’s sort of like a hutong built on a canal. PS loved it.

 

 

 

 

After Suzhou Street, we headed south. Map from here.

Longevity Hill, Sumeru Temple and Hall of Buddhist Tenets

 

 

 

Buddhist Fragrance Tower and the view

 

 

 

Paiyun Gate, Yunhuiyuyu Archway and the Long Corridor

 

 

Bottom left picture, this couple wanted a picture of their Squidgems-sized kid with Squidgems. I especially like his rat tail hair. We had to hurry and move after this picture because a bunch of out of town tourists were about to swarm.

 

Seventeen Arch Bridge and views

We rode a dragon boat back across Kunming Lake toward Qingyan Boat (Marble Boat).

 

Half-Wall Bridge

Then we left the same way we came in.

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Yuanmingyuan Park (Old Summer Palace)

5/13

Line 4, Yuanmingyuan Park subway stop, exit B, walk east

Cost: Full access, adults Y25, kids Y10 + more for boats (Y20) and small trolley buses (Y8)

          under 120 cm = free

I’d heard that the ruins of the Old Summer Palace were fun for kids to just run around and the As (our friends from Virginia that live out in Shunyi and are homeschooling now) and the WAs had never been. They both drove and ran into a few problems (apparently when a light goes out here, you might be stuck in an intersection indefinitely because no one knows about treating it like a four way stop). So we arrived a little early and I managed to purchase the full access tickets all by myself.

Top right picture… the kids all congregated on this rock which was a great photo op but while the moms were all getting their cameras ready, this Chinese woman jumped in and had her picture taken.

The park is pretty big and we had a lot of kids with us so we took a boat (actually two boats, we filled one entire boat and then there were still four of us left). After the first boat ride, the little boats docked and then three boats worth of people got on a larger boat and we were altogether.

I like this bottom left picture PS took of me because while we were waiting for the second boat to fill up, my phone rang and I had to answer some questions about the Relief Society activity that was happening the next day and Squidgems was pulling on my sweater trying to tell me something. It just seemed to be a funny way to sum up how crazy my life is right now. I was in the Old Summer Palace, in Beijing, China on a boat talking on the phone for my church calling while kids were pestering me.

After the boat ride, we stopped and ate lunch before entering the ticket area for the ruins. The kids climbed up a “mountain” and had a blast while we ate. After the ruins, they begged to play there again so we let them.

We made the kids group together for this “maze.” All the shorter kids had to be in a group with at least one tall kid so we could keep track of them. While the moms waited for the kids to finish, an old Chinese guy with a selfie stick asked to have a picture of he and his wife with us. The kids finished and we told them out of the corner of our smiling mouths to keep moving or we’d be there all day getting our pictures taken!

We went in a little shop to buy water and as we were walking away, Squidgems started being sad because he wanted an ice cream. I don’t even think M WA heard him, she was just already being sweet and buying him in ice cream. She told me later that sometimes she likes to buy the food she can’t eat (gluten, egg, dairy allergies) for other people so they can enjoy it. She made Squidgems very happy! Then we road this little bus/golf cart back towards where we got on the boat.

 

Me, trying to be a photographer.

When we got home, Squidgems immediately wanted to make a thank you card for M WA for his ice cream. He even asked me what color her shirt was so he could do a good job drawing a picture of her holding his ice cream and he dictated a note to PS so she could write it for him.