Summer Palace is the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China, situated 15 kilometres from central Beijing. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometres, three quarters of which is water. Summer Palace was used as a summer residence by China's imperial family, as the retreat from main imperial palace, the Forbidden City. My first time visiting Summer Palace was about 20 years ago when I was a kid. All I can remember, it was spring and colourful flowers were blooming everywhere.
Last year I visited during winter, it was freezing and snowing quite hard. Thus everything looked totally different. With those thick snow covering almost everything and most part of Kunming lake was already frozen. The contrast of red buildings against the white snow and misty lake, somehow looked mysteriously beautiful. It felt like I was wandering inside a snow globe.
|the Heralding Spring Pavilion|
|it's snowing.....love it !|
I spent couple of hours wandering around the Summer Palace. And since the area is enormous, I only managed to explore some parts of it. Actually I'd love to spend more time to admire the scenery. But the weather became too cold to handle that I could barely feel my feet and body.Winter in China can be harsh sometime. Note to self: don't forget to bring a blanket from the hotel to keep my body warm :p
|frozen Kunming lake|
|The Tower of Literary Prosperity|
|Hall of Benevolence & Longevity|
Before exiting the palace, I passed by the Hall of Benevolence & Longevity. There's some animal bronze statues there. One of most famous statue was Qilin, an auspicious legendary animal that has the power to punish evil and repel the wicked. It's a symbol of good omens, protection, prosperity, success, and longevity by the Chinese. Depictions of the Qilin show a creature with the head of a dragon, the antlers of a deer, the skin and scales of a fish, hooves of an ox and tail of a lion. It's sometimes called the Chinese unicorn.
For dinner, we went to a Mongolian restaurant which famous for the roast lamb menu. I'd say that this is one unique restaurant which is a large area with at least 30 white round tents or they call it Mongolian yurts. We were led to one of the yurts, passing by the open kitchen that equipped with modern rotating spit for roasting the lamb. We entered one of the yurt with interesting interior in red and gold colour. We were served 7 kind of menu that mostly were lamb as basic ingredients. There was also a group performance of singer and dancers to keep us entertained during dinner.
|the interior inside the yurt|
|lamb BBQ Mongolian style|
|the grilling process in the kitchen|
I've uploaded a video of the lamb roasting process. It's an amateur video from my pocket camera, so please don't expect something fancy. I just want to show you the cooking process in the restaurant :)
Anyway, I'd like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas! May joy and happiness snow on you ! HO HO HO HO