The Summer Palace is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and the Kumming Lake It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometres (720 acres), three-quarters of which is water. The lake is entirely man-made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill.
The Palace's history is entwined with the Empress Dowager Cixi's. She was around when the British and French torched the place in a reprisal to atrocities committed by the Chinese during the First Opium war. Then, money was diverted from the Chinese navy to rebuild as part of her 60th Birthday celebrations but the Chinese lost the Sino Japanese war the year before due, largely to a weakened navy so plans for the celebration were dropped.
It has been incredibly hot and sticky here of late. So, it shouldn't really be a huge a surprise that it broke with a massive storm. It may not rain often around Tianjin and Beijing but when it does, it does it properly.
These were taken in a little Hutong that has become home to lots of little tourist shops and eateries. We were there for the Dragon Boat holiday so it was especially busy but quite nice and, again, different from what one usually experiences in China. There seem to be a quite a lot of these little areas in Beijing that are trying to be a bit indie and edgey but are, of course, officially sanctioned so it is all very sanitised but I do like them. Also, the food in these areas is always tip-top!
I waited until it was just going dark so the exposure time gave a bit of blur but there was still enough light to hand-hold the camera as there was never going to be enough room for a tripod.
The idea was to get a mix of brollys and colourful reflections on the damp cobbles.
There are two summer palaces, which I didn't know. On our first trip to Beijing we went to the new one which was packed as it was a national holiday, which I will write about soon. The plan was to go back mid-week and out of season and try and enjoy the peace and quiet of the place, but we ended up at the wrong one.
One of our better mistakes!
It is dominated by lakes and the reflections are lovely and very typically Chinese. However, all that massive expanse of water does make it ruddy cold in early March!
The observatory sits on top of one of the few remaining parts of the city walls. So, a trip here is also a rare chance to see those too.
There are some small, but very nice gardens to walk around that house an interesting collection of planetary position fixing gear, all of which is ornately covered in the usual dragons.
The guy to the left is the one who was responsible for all of this physics stuff and there are a couple of statues to him. At the top of the watch tower are some bigger pieces of kit which look very impressive but I have no idea what they do/did.
One of the highlights is a water clock that uses uses a bunny to help measure the time but, unfortunately, the pictures of this didn't come out very well as it was inside and the light was too low. In the end we decided that it was more of a stopwatch than a clock: still it was querky.
Three adults, two children all for the bargain price of 65Y (GBP6.50) which I thought was pretty good value.
One of Beijing's lesser known sights but very interesting none-the-less and well worth a look see.
To round off our mini China tour with the mother-in-law we went to Beijing. I had (for once at least) a plan as to the kind of pictures I was looking for. This is definitely easier to do once you know where you are going and what you are going to see.
The idea was taken from the Winner of the TPOTY competition. His were almost, but not quite, silhouettes of Paris to give nice monochrome graphic images. I'n not sure I got what I was after but I do like the first two in particular.
This was the centre of the Middle Kingdom. The link between Heaven and the more mundane world here. This is where the Emperor would come to receive guidance on what to do only after the three days of fasting had attuned him to the frequency of the Gods (They probably sounded like Elvis or possibly Johnny Cash). During the procession from the Imperial Palace it was forbidden for commoners to view the court's procession so they had to stay inside with their windows shuttered.
The whole of the main temple is wooden and there is not a single nail used in its construction.
These are the old residential districts of Beijing. Sadly(?) many, if not most, have now gone but the remaining ones seem to be protected from the developers. They are basically just streets but are charming and there is a sense of community in them.
Well worth a gentle stroll. You won't see anything jaw-droppingly beautiful or spectacular.... They're just nice and peaceful, which is rare commodity in Beijing.
Our first half-term holiday and we took the 35 minute journey on the High Speed train to Beijing. Only 6GBP per person in first class, so we splashed out. Very impressed with China's railway system... Very clean, efficient and cheap!
First stop was the Forbidden City and then round to Tianaman Sq. They were a short walk from the hotel, so we thought would make a nice afternoon outing. The only problem was so did everyone else. According to the news the day we were there and the day before saw a total of 2.5 million people in the square.
Everyone else's pictures of this place show a vast deserted sq, it is (I believe) the largest public space in the world. So, even when there are a lot of people around it still looks empty.
Not on the day we went.... It was heaving. A double holiday of Moon festival and National day. Apparently they will make sure they don't fall at the same time in the future as it was so busy everywhere.
Still got the classic shot of the portrait of Mao though
This will be a blog about my latest shots and what I liked or was trying to do with them
I am a teacher of Economics and have worked in various schools in Europe & Asia. One of the things I love doing is getting out and about with my camera.