Based on the experiences from yesterday, we decided to try the same approach for the Summer Palace, and got up early to take a taxi from the hotel. There were no queues and hardly any tour groups when we got there, but they poured in throughout the day. We started in the area around the East Palace Gate with the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, The Great Stage and The Heralding Spring Pavilion. We had a coffee and some cookies on the shore of the lake before walking over the top of the hill to the Hall of the Buddha Confirming his Doctrine, and down to Suzhou Street, a charming area around the Back Lake.
We went back up to the top of the hill to see the Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha and several pavilions, halls and gates on the way down to The Long Corridor (728 meters). From the end of the corridor we took a boat to the South Lake Island and walked the Seventeen-Arch Bridge back to where we started.
Some of the buildings were impressive, but most of them were very similar to what we saw yesterday. But the lake were beautiful and on the hill there were plenty of caves and interesting stone structures. We even did some geocaching in the woods.
When we got back to the hotel we had an email from Mr. Liu waiting, and getting into Tibet is not easy. So we need some more time to get everything in order and have booked flights to Xi’an and Chengdu for now, and will probably go to Guilin as well before Tibet.
In the evening we went to a restaurant not too far from the hotel to taste the famous Peking Duck. After trying to figure out the details of the menu, we ended up with ordering a “package meal” which included 1 duck, special pancakes, sauce and different vegetables. Very good!
Tomorrow we will spend the whole day on The Great Wall!!