• Day3

    A Summer Stroll.

    September 21, 2018 in China ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

    After yesterdays leg breaker, I'd planned and expected today to be more casual. I should know better. Thats never how it works out. Especially solo. By myself, I can see more and go further without consulting or hesitating, but at times I wonder whether Nats advice to rest, eat or slow down might have been wise, rather than my impetuous and adventurous enthusiasm wearing my legs to exhaustion. I've certainly learned that good experiences are more treasured and remembered when they're shared.

    It was a warm one again. High 20s- 30c and clear blue skies. I left the hotel around 9.30, in a different direction, bound for a different metro station to map out a few different blocks around the hotel. The bakery breakfast and ice water coffee wasn't great, but moving on.

    The train ride out to Xiyuan in the north west of Beijing for the Summer Palace probably took around 40 minutes. It was a further 15 minute walk (not really signed) to find the Palace. Entry (all access) with an audio guide cost 100yuan (60+40) and the latter required a 50yuan deposit. The gps audio didn't work near as well as the forbidden city and wasnt as interesting.

    The Summer Palace was shades of the Forbidden City, spread out, in hilly forest, by the water. The highest temples were probably the most spectacular, the trek up the many stairs to them being fairly awe inspiring. A major problem with this complex in its entirety was just how poorly signed it was. Many of their signs, directions and distances were outright false, if not misleading and deceptive. When the punishment for such deception is backtracking or climbing hundreds of steps in the wrong direction/ for no reason, this got annoying. I probably most enjoyed the lilies and tranquility of the aptly named Garden of Harmony, and the tower of buddhist insense which offered great views.

    Once I had my fill of the Summer Palace I headed back to Beijing Central via metro. I figured I'd get off at Qianmen and walk around Tiananmen Square proper, having just walked alongside it yesterday. It's a big square. Not too much to see or do there but some interesting monuments and buildings.

    Rather than reboard the metro, I figured Id just hoof it South, all the way to the Temple of Heaven. The good part of this decision was the walk through Dashilar and Qianmen Street (busy shops). The bad part, was that I'd not factored in how big, and how much more walking thered be at the Temple of Heaven when I arrived with weary legs.

    Ultimately, the Temple of Heaven was probably the highlight of the day. The Hall of Prayer for good harvests was towering and a little unique. The Round altar down south was also different. Further appealing was how pretty the entire complex was, basically a big botanic garden. Once I'd finished and turned back north to walk to the hotel, I really enjoyed the refreshing summer breeze between the trees filled with sparrows and these noisy blue winged magpie like birds.

    I certainly made use of the bath in the hotel when I crashed back here. After a few hours of rest I set out to find dinner, roaming around a few blocks and through a few malls. I eventually settled on a Chinese place, ordering a stewed fish and fried beans with chili. The latter was delish, but former 99.99% tiny bones. I've really had a hard time finding any appealing local food or even quality western or hybrid cuisine. I guess ill stick to western and get the authentic experience in Xinzhou soon enough.

    I've been pondering many observations and unique elements to China and Beijing today. Ill post them in the coming days. For now, rest and sleep. Im 6.40am to head to the Great Wall.
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