I feel like we’re in a position right now of just waiting, waiting for the weather to get better. Apart from the freak snow about three weeks ago now (it was 10days ago when I started writing this…oops), the weather’s been pretty cool but not absolutely freezing. It’s not yet quite nice enough to go and enjoy the parks, which are really a Summer thing, but we’ve counted out how many weeks we have left in Beijing and we really, really just wanna make the most of it now.
So, two weekends ago, we somewhat impulsively decided to go to the Summer Palace, partly also because that was the last week of low season prices; from the beginning of April, all the prices of tourist places go up, to the summer high-season prices (which, in this case, isn’t actually that much higher). Due to the day being pretty polluted and smoggy, meaning that we couldn’t see that much, we actually spent a lot more time there climbing the rocks leading up to one of the main palace buildings, obeying the rules posted on signs:
I’m sorry, but they were just made for climbing. I actually had a lot of fun 😀
We didn’t really go and look at or appreciate all the must-sees of the Summer Palace, i.e. the 17-arch bridge, and all of the actual Palace buildings, but I’m going to attempt to justify that now. I think that it’s a benefit of living here as opposed to just being tourists here, because while we also want to do the tourist stuff, we can go to a place like the Summer Palace and not feel pressured to have to do it all in one go. Ultimately, we decided we’d come back to the Summer Palace when Summer actually hits. I accept that it sounds a bit inefficient, but it’s not as if we started out with the intention of going back; it just so happened that the weather wasn’t satisfactory to allow us to enjoy the rest of the Palace. (Also, I admit, it’s not called the Summer Palace for nothing…)
Here are some pictures to act as evidence of the amazing time we had at the Summer Palace, not in the Summer.
The weekend before, we went to Chaoyang Park, and whereas the Summer Palace day was a really grey day, the day we went to Chaoyang Park was much brighter and sunnier. (An aside: it’s amusing when I hear stories of people’s holiday – “The water is so clear, we can see the fish through it!”. My response is usually quite tight-lipped: “That’s really great… I’m so happy for you! It sounds amazing :)” When what I’m really thinking is “We can’t even see people through the air in front of us”)
Chaoyang Park, like a lot of Beijing’s parks, is huge. There is an amusement park within the park grounds, and for anyone who doesn’t know, I LOVE amusement parks. There are three in Beijing, as far as research has told us, and we’re leaving what we think seems like the ‘best’ till last. I sincerely hope we are correct in our judgements, because I’m really expecting better than this next time. Although there were a couple of rides that looked like they could be decent, I felt that they were way overpriced for what they were. There was one roller-coaster that included a loop-the-loop, but I’m not sure if it can even qualify as a roller-coaster, because that’s pretty much all it did! When you pay 40yuan (~£4.50) for a single ride that lasts all of about 30 seconds, and lacks that thrill, you can’t help but feel a bit ripped off.
We went on a grand total of three rides, the third and final one was this ride, which looked fun from where we stood on ground level…
Not only were we just dizzy, being spun around high up in the air, the cold air meant cold wind blowing in our faces, eyes watering, noses running, face freezing… And while we thought the other two rides were over much too quickly, this one seemed to drag on. Still, it was fun.
Here are pictures of the freak snow we enjoyed! It was much better than any other times it has snowed in Beijing, not only was there a lot of it, it made Beijing look really very pretty!! I’m also convinced that the air seemed fresher and cleaner, clear blue skies were definitely visible! (Speaking of, a few days ago, the pollution level was down to a PM2.5 level of 30!! Compared to the extremely dangerous levels of 500+ recorded earlier this year, this is extremely good news!)
This was a sort of catch-up post, talking about the weekend before last, and the one previous to that. Next post, covering last weekend (Tomb Sweeping Day) coming soon!