Today I set the Summer Palace as my goal. Having been warned it was huge and crowded, I got up at 6:30, had dumplings for breakfast and got to the palace by 8am. This time buying the "through" ticket was definitely worthwhile. This dragon was the ramp between the sets of steps.
I love how the signs identify these as "audacious animals". My dictionary identifies that word as meaning "showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks" OR "showing an impudent lack of respect".
This is the first area I've seen that uses natural elements. And no, I haven't only visited tombs.
The emperess had this viewing... Building built so she could privately watch shows on her own imperial stage.
These massive doors actually lead out to the real world.
Vibrant paintings adorn the entertainment complex.
I wonder how many times these have been repainted.
Here is the stage Itself. The holes in the ceiling are where actors or objects could be dropped from.
Three stories tall, I'm not sure how things on the upper floors could be viewed. Maybe performers only acted at the balconies?
The emperess' intermission space
The whole complex rests besides a lake.
View of the Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha (called so on the paper tourist map), or Tower of Buddhist Incense on the entrance ticket. Another serious climb.
Several people where using sponges to draw Chinese characters with water on the stones. Super cool; very transient.
This boat was carved from a bamboo root.
The emperess' desk
And so begins the climb.
Cool views across the rooftops.
Lots of boats on the lake.
There was a display illustrating the different tiles. Apparently, temples use the glazed tiles, while the palace used clay tiles from a mold. There were consistently signs in english.
The area in this next photo was not open to tourists.
This temple is both roofed and detailed with glazed tiles.
One of the many Buddhas.
Again, the strategic use of trees. There was no formal garden, per se, nor flowering plants, apart from lotus plants.
Glazed Buddha tiles
I liked how the trees often obscured the buildings, giving a little sense of mystery, which unfolded as you moved forward.
There was a large area of natural rock formations, which had paths distributed among them and stones steps to aid progress from one elevation to the next.
The extreme slope allowed you to see a a panorama often.
Empty pedestals previously showed off works of art, such as bronze vessels and sculptures. Most of the complex was torched by an Alglo-French action around 1850. The completed palace had only stood for about 100 years. Some of the artifacts survived, but were moved indoors.
My through ticket actually granted me admission to Suzhou Street, but I exited pretty quickly, when I realized it was mostly a giant souvenir shop.
The far side of the lake is attained by multiple bridges. This was the Stone Bridge.
Right next to it is the Banbi Bridge. Each is a slightly different style.
About half the boats on the lake were paddle boats.
No joy! No romping!
Lake Dividing bridge
Jade Belt bridge- this is the one I walked around the lake to see.
Looking out at the outer channel
And back to the start, where the official gov business was conducted in the summer.
There be dragons.