Hello China Tour Dreamers!
My parents are returning to Beijing for a visit and it made me start thinking about how much I love my old hometown. This is the place where my dreams always started and landed – Beijing! There are so many memories there on every corner, every street and every sunset! So I thought I would share some of the wonderful memories from growing up there with a tour using your imagination!
I want to start our tour with my favorite garden here –the Summer Palace. Even though it is called the *Summer* Palace, it is truly a Palace for all year round. In the spring time, it’s always so refreshing to see the first signs of green and the first blossoms, which is really nature’s wake up call from the long winter hibernation! In summer it is truly a beautiful paradise! You will be overwhelmed by the deep green of the trees; the grass and picture perfect Kunming Lake. Stroll down the Long Corridor at dusk to enter the feeling of this ancient imperial palace that is eight hundred years old. Fall is the season of colorful kaleidoscopes. The explosive yellow leaves of the Gingko trees appear almost magical. Climb to the top of Longevity Hill and get a birds-eye view of the northwest corner of Beijing. Or even more dramatically, enjoy a sunset moment and watch the sun slowly sinking into the Yan mountain range, with the silhouette of a classical pagoda standing on top of the Jade Spring Hill. What an unforgettable picture! In winter, see all the colors of the ancient buildings covered in the blanket of white snow. A white dream that has repeated for hundreds of years! When the sun comes out, you can see those colors slowly emerging and asserting their beauty, contrasting with the snowy world!
Summer Palace has always been my family’s special paradise! We have our fondest family moments there. Memories flood my mind, like standing by the Kunming Lake, soaking in the dramatic color of the sunset accentuated by the silhouette of Western Hill, perhaps even a group of geese flying on their way home through the curls of smoke from early dinner cooking. Each year on the Full Moon Day Festival, we would take our moon cakes with us to feast in the reflection of the most beautiful and flawless full moon of the year on the water of Kunming Lake. We often would stroll in the Long Corridor on the summer nights. It is all lit up and so quiet and peaceful.
You can also see the lit up dragon boats floating on the lake and imagine every character from Imperial Chinese history who has lived here before. They might have experienced the same moment in the same atmosphere hundreds years ago, who knows?
Of course you will be starving after the wonderful day of exploring the park and the Imperial Restaurant in the Summer Palace is the perfect stop to end your day. It is located right in the middle of the Long Corridor. It was a palace for Concubine Pearl, one of the most beautiful concubines in the Qing dynasty. You can’t even tell it is a restaurant from its appearance until you smell the delectable aromas coming from it. Just walk into the old building and enjoy the ancient classical Chinese decorations while being served by elegant waitresses dressed in beautiful Qing Dynasty-styled robes. You will once again be surprised by the good taste that emperors had hundreds years ago! What a treat!
All the Best!
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