Sunday, December 22, 2013

Beijing - Part 3

Despite the long day at the Wall, we decided to stop off at the Summer Palace on the way home. The Summer Palace is China's largest and most well-preserved royal park, featuring numerous lakes, gardens and buildings. It was first built in 1750, largely destroyed in the war of 1860 and restored on its original foundations in 1886. UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List in 1998. This picture shows the breathtaking beauty and serenity of the place.

This sign was at the entrance, suggesting that there had been sufficient uncontrolled, bad tourists making rude imaginations to warrant it.

This sign, seen at regular intervals throughout the park, seemed to confirm it.

The lake was largely iced over and looked lovely in the setting sun. Here you can see we were pretty tired after the Wall!

We met an elderly Chinese man practicing his calligraphy strokes on the pavement. He used a large brush dipped in water. Seeing Becky, he asked her what her Chinese name is. His calligraphic skill was amazing; his hanyu pinyin -- the phonetic system for transcribing the sound of Chinese characters into Latin script -- not so much.

A magnificent evening.

This cheery fellow was a cab driver we met on our first day there. Finding him a fount of information about the country, as well as an excellent driver -- which is really something considering the blasé recklessness of both drivers and pedestrians there! -- we had hired him for the drive to the Wall. Seeing him outside the hotel the next day, we snapped this picture.

Entering the Forbidden City. Just imagine it -- once a gilded cage to 24 emperors from 1420 to 1911, the Forbidden City now attracts millions of visitors a year, making it the most visited World Heritage destination in the world. Reginald Johnston, tutor to the last emperor Pu Yi, wrote: "If ever there was a palace that deserved the name of a prison, it is that palace in the Forbidden City of Peking, in which emperor Shunzhi pined for freedom, and in which the last but one of his successors, the emperor Guangxu, ended his dismal days nearly twelve years ago".

A giant.. um.. pot.

To think of life in this place... perhaps that cage beside the throne says it all.

The largest stone sculpture in the Forbidden City. Weighing about 250 tons, this marble relief of nine dragons playing with pearls was originally carved in the Ming dynasty, then re-sculpted in the Qing. Apparently anyone caught touching this holy stone would receive the death penalty.

Inside the Hall of Preserved Harmony. One isn't allowed into any of these rooms, so one must make do squeezing and taking turns with the crowds at the doors and quickly snapping whatever one can.

Imagine all the scenes that mirror has reflected!

An adorable guardian statue. Isn't he great? The last time I was here, some twelve years or so ago, he was covered in snow. Our friendly cab driver had told us not to expect any snow this year; it was, he said, a sad sign of global warming.

Another happy day!

The last part after Christmas. Have a blessed, wonderful week everyone!


Anonymous said...

thank you so much for your visit to my blog, I came right back to visit you, I enjoyed this post very much and will enjoy reading your past posts, what an adventure, I can't even imagine living in a castle like this, its amazing,

The Dainty Dolls House said...

So amazing!! Looks like everyone had such a great time!! I look forward to the end :))) Have a great Christmas time doll xx

Miss Val's Creations said...

It must have been amazing to see all those awesomely carved objects within the palace! The guardian is fantastic! The signs are great. I just love the translations!

Jane Chérie said...

Thank you for sharing your pictures! The summer I palace looks like a beautiful pvacation resort! The forbidden city seems like a dreadful place!

Rowena @ rolala loves said...

Thanks for sharing more of this wonderful adventure!
Merry Christmas to you and your family! Have a safe and happy holiday!

Rowena @ rolala loves

Unknown said...

Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for the photographs.

Elizabeth Brown said...

I always wonder just what life was like in times way back when, especially when I visit historic sites or exhibits. It would have been fascinating to glimpse even a scene of any historical era, but especially ancient China or Japan. I'm always trying to find good literature set then and there. Ha!

Great pictures! Again, you all look like you had quite a bit of fun, and it looks like the weather was pretty good to you guys, too!

...And that is some gorgeous calligraphy! =O

Hope you all have a very merry, blessed Christmas and a happy new year!

Magic Love Crow said...

I love these posts! So much history! Great photos! Love the giant pot! LOL! I hope you are having a great Christmas ;o) Big Hugs ;o)

Unknown said...

What lovely pictures...I hope one day I make it there!! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas dear!

AntiquityTravelers said...

I am really enjoying your China trip series! What fun to see the forbidden city and all its history! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We are enjoying ours in Ireland. I'll have to blog a bit about it when we're home

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this trip with us. This is a place that fascinates me, and one that I would love to visit. It may very well never happen, so your posts are about as close as I'll ever get!

I laughed at the photo with the cab driver because of the way he's bending down. It shows what a great attitude he has.

Jo said...

Your daughters look really cute with the cabby who look cute posing like that too. I haven't been to any parts of CHina but I heard about the bad traffic there.

Looks like you and the gals have lots of cultural enrichment in Beijing!

Almost Precious said...

Wonderful ! A most interesting post with lots of great photography. China is a nation so rich in history and historic architecture and art. I would love to visit that great nation but, alas, it is so far away and travel today is very expensive.


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