warning: the Summer Palace was so rad I took 7 trillion pictures, so brace yourself, I'll try and collage a few together, but no guarantees that this won't be a long post.
The Summer Palace is amazing! They have a huge lake with tons of little peninsulas going through it with the most amazing bridges like the Jade Belt Bridge above.
The palace was for the Emperor to use during the summer so it had water activities and garden spaces. Being built right on the water means there are tons of boats and lillypads and waterlined walkways. People throw money into the lillypad cups for luck. I got there right when it opened at 7 so there weren't too many boats on the lake yet.
And no palace would be complete without like 10 thousand creepy dragon beasts. I had to collage them there were so many. The two on the bottom are just for you heavy-D, those super old dragon beasts have been giving the eye of the tiger for too long having nobody give it back. Boy the lady taking the shots for me didn't expect it either. She almsot wouldn't take it because she thought I wasn't serious.
Some random groundskeeper had an unusual garden for his pumpkins.
There were little huts everywhere with happy relaxed people.
There were carvings and creations made out of rocks everywhere. The whole palace grounds are 290 Hectares according to my map I got. I have no idea what a hectare is, maybe Deedle would know, but I'll say this: I spend 6 hours there and never walked the same path twice. It was enormous! Every single walkway had intricate stonework too. It blows your mind how much they put into it.
The bridge out to the above island was pretty sweet. It was the 17 arch bridge.
In fact, this place was crawling with amazing bridges. Here is a brief collage of just a few I saw.
This pagoda later was filled with dancing old ladies. I think they do it for like aerobics, but whatever the reason there were tons of them all just dancing away.
I took this next one just for Janae.
Too bad the rain can only hold off the pollution for so long. The sky was back to its usual bluish-gray. The plants and trees were super green though in this paradise.
Walking along one of the many peninsulas.
One of my favorite things was the names of all the places. They were pretty ridiculous. Here are a few: "Garden of Harmonious Interests", "Hall of Benevolence and Longevity", "Tower of the Fragrance of Buddha", "Realm of Multitudinous Fragrance", "Naural Affinity of Water and Trees", "Clear and Peaceful Boat", "Glazed Tile Pagoda of Many Treasures", "Chamber of Distant Gazing", "Hall of Magniminity", "Hall of Recognition of Talent Island", "Fresh Embracing Pavilion", "Pavilion of Forgotten Desires and Accompanying Clouds", "Pavilion of Clear and Carefree", "Lingering Interest Courtyard" and my personal favorite- "Pavillion of Mesmerizing Serenity and Harmonizing with the Lake." I haven't even named half of them.
The lake was beautiful, it was full of algae, koi and lillies.
The Empress got the crazy idea to use money she was supposed to use to modernize the navy and instead she built a boat of MARBLE. Called the "Clear and Peaceful Boat", it's crazy! the whole hull of the boat is real marble and then the house built onto it is painted just to look like marble. I'm just a simple Materials Science Engineer... but I can be pretty sure that marble might not be the optimal maritime building material. That's just my suggestion though. No wonder people booted out the emperor and embraced communism with crazy expenditures like this!
This is the main corridor leading up on the hill to the famous Tower of the Fragrance of Buddha.
This was quite a hike to the top. It is the pinnacle of the whole palace. And yes, the fragrance of buddha isn't half bad. It smelled pretty good up there. It is so much bigger than it looks too. I mean it's like 5 stories tall or something.
The top gave view to the mountains and northern Beijing. It was way pretty.
I had to take a quick break before attacking the back half of the palace. It was just so big!
Lots of steps later...
Once on the back side I found they had even more water. This new area was sorta like Chinese Venice. It's called Suzhou Street and it's all on the water. It was so beautiful!
The lake panorama view from the Island. You can see the big Tower of the Fragrance of Buddha in the distance.