We spent a weekend afternoon exploring the grounds of the Summer Palace, enjoying the breathtaking scenery and getting a little bit of exercise hiking up the multitude of hills and stairs along the way.
I was fascinated to learn that the Summer Palace was home to the Empress Dowager Cixi, a figure that I remember from my mother’s stories as one of the most powerful and ruthless rulers in China’s history. It turns out that after a series of restorations to the Palace, the Dowager Cixi eventually smuggled money from the royal navy fund to reconstruct the Summer Palace into a resort for herself and the royal family.
In 1924, it opened to the public and can now be enjoyed (for a small fee) by locals and tourists. In fact, I even saw some local boys sporting nerf guns into the gardens…I’d say that’d make a pretty epic battleground. Capture the flag, anyone?
This is the Long Corridor, apparently the longest painted corridor in the world (how many painted corridors do you know of?). It’s said to contain 14,000 different paintings that feature illustrations from Chinese literature, history, and folk tales.
The Marble Boat