We continued our tour of Beijing with a pedi-cab ride through a hutong neighborhood. It’s touristy but we were tourists……
Lunch in a hutong – the one we visited was a multi-generation compound of several buildings enclosing a courtyard. One building was a kitchen and large dining room.
Elderhostel tours specialize in giving tourists an educational experience. We visited an elementary school where a teacher talked about Chinese schools.
Kids being kids!
Neighborhood exercise parks are very popular.
We visited the former home of Madame Sun Yat-Sen. It is now a museum and the grounds are a pretty park.
The Summer Palace, on Kunming Lake, has colorful pavilions and gardens.
The Marble Boat was built in 1755 and rebuilt after a fire in 1893. China Travel Guide says “In ancient China, people often built smaller versions of boats as part of the decoration in classical gardens to enrich the beautiful scenery, as well as provide a seat for people to enjoy the sight and feast…Empress Dowager Cixi financed the rebuilding using funds embezzled from the navy.”
My favorite park was the Temple of Heaven. Will & I went on our own before the tour and entered the grounds from a side gate. This way lead us through a little forest, enchantingly filled with lovely light blue flowers! Heavenly!
The temple complex was built in the early 1400s by the same Emperor who built the Forbidden City. It was renamed the Temple of Heaven in the 16th century and three more temples were added. Time and several wars left it badly damaged. It was rebuilt and turned into a park in 1918. This and the Summer Palace areUNESCOWorld Heritage Sites.
We also visited the park a few days later with our tour group. There is a charge to enter the temple areas but most of the park is free. On this Sunday the park was full of people enjoying the afternoon entertaining themselves and their friends and families.
A few in our group joined in the fun.
People were very friendly and curious about us. We were often stopped by Chinese couples and families who wanted to take pictures of us with them! They were happy to let us take pictures of their cute kids too.