The Summer Palace

One of my favorite places in Beijing is definitely the Summer Palace.  I took a long cab ride from my hostel in the center of town to the Northwestern corner of Beijing.  The complex consists of many small well-preserved ancient palaces, gardens, bridges, pagodas,  and temples, the largest of which rests at the top of Longevity Hill which overlooks Kunming lake below and the city skyline in the distance.  The perfect weather and lack of tourists made this experience that much more exhilarating. Longevity hall has many buildings with abstruse names such as The Cloud dispelling Hall, The Temple of Gathering Clouds, The Chamber of Enjoying Prosperity, or The Sea of Wisdom Temple.  The found most interesting spot within the palace walls to be Suzhou Street, which is a small waterway consisting of of merchant store fronts and overpriced gondola rides.  The layout of Suzhou Street is very much reminiscent of the canals of Venice.

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