On our way to the train station to leave Beijing, we detoured slightly to tour The Summer Palace. This is where the Han dynasty empress hung out six or seven months a year. We walked The Longest Corridor, which is 760 meters long, about 3/4 of a kilometer, and skirts around a good portion of a peaceful lake.
The corridor is a long covered but open walkway, intricately painted with scenes of China’s history—over 10,000 of them, according to our guide. It was a pleasant walk, lots of people, but not too crowded and oddly quiet.
We could hear some type of music playing up a hill, and it sounded to me like a high school jazz band. I declined to hike up there to look for myself, as I was totally running on empty, and had taken Imodium a couple of hours before, which added to my sleepiness.
(I’d had four nights of not sleeping well, and too much coffee to try to compensate, and diarrhea came to call. No worries, I took two little pills and the back door slammed shut. Better living through chemistry!)
But I digress… The Summer Palace was beautiful, but I know I’ve said that about a lot of places. Let’s just say the temperature was a comfortable 75 degrees this morning, the walkway was shady, and a light breeze prevailed. Once again, I nailed the weather, and although it had rained while we ate breakfast, I told our guide to put away the umbrellas, as we would not need them. The Weather Bruha lives, and we’ve had great fortune in both the daily temperatures and missing what slight rainfall there’s been!
At the end of our long walk we opted to pay 15Y each ($2.50) and take the one-way Dragon Boat back. The next day marked the Dragon Boat Festival in a nearby area, so I felt we were right in style, and could pretend we had participated. It is a three-day holiday for most, and we were getting out of town just in time to miss the worst of the traffic.
It was a soft closing to our time in Beijing. I could certainly have stayed awhile longer, but I was also anxious to move on to Xi’an, to see the world famous Terra Cotta Army! I’d seen a small token exhibit of the soldiers in Seattle a couple years ago, but I was sure viewing the excavation in Xi’an was going to blow my socks right off! (And I was not disappointed!)