April-May 2013, Beijing – Temple of Confucius/南锣鼓巷/Summer Palace

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusNote to self: a neon backpack is handy for travelling with a group. Makes you super easy to spot! But anywaaaay… here comes another day of touring Beijing’s most scenic spots, this day kicked off by a visit to the Temple of Confucius. (北京孔庙)

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusSo, as you might have guessed, it’s basically a temple dedicated to Confucius, who most Chinese consider as the greatest teacher that ever lived. As for me, temples haven’t increased their appeal towards me at all, especially Chinese ones which tend to be really big and long-winding. One thing that never changes, though – beautiful scenery!

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusYes, those temples can be big and long-winding, but they also make for awesome places to chill and relax. Nature lovers would be SO happy here.

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusDetails, details.

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusSaw and captured my first magpie ever! Excited to show this someday to my students, whom I have taught “magpie” in Chinese to sometime this year.

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusOkay, that was Preston photo-bombing a possible shot. Here’s the real one:

Beijing Temple of ConfuciusBeijing Temple of ConfuciusSpotted a cosplay girl on our way out, and a co-teacher asked me to take a picture. Loved how it turned out!

Next stop: 南锣鼓巷 Nan Luo Gu Xiang, a.k.a. a pedestrian street packed with quirky little shops and amazing food finds! Visiting this place is especially great for around the 2pm-3pm time frame, where your tummy might start to feel a little neglected.

南锣鼓巷南锣鼓巷南锣鼓巷Cute little cafés all around! The next time I visit Beijing and this place, I’m bringing money and a good book with me. ❤

南锣鼓巷南锣鼓巷南锣鼓巷This next place was supposed to be in a separate post, but let’s just put it together here. Presenting: the Summer Palace! (颐和园)It is arguably one of the most famous tourist spots in Beijing, next to the Great Wall.

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceYou know the usual routine with tourist spots in China – a lot of the in-between “commercials” or miscellanea to look upon.

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer Palace

Just to break up the monotony: did you know that the Summer Palace was especially constructed for the last empress, the notorious tyrant Ci Xi? It’s like saying that today’s First Lady always complains about being bored with state affairs, and ordered the people of the state to build a MASSIVE garden for her, with all the works. Not some tiny little garden, we’re talking acres here! That’s exactly what Ci Xi made her people do, and although the resulting Summer Garden is indeed beautiful, the history behind it? Not so much.

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceWe walked, took pictures, walked some more, until one gorgeous view came right before our eyes.

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceLooking back, I actually have no idea what that tower meant, nor did we even get to that place. But look at how it’s placed! So picturesque, right? The things people did for their empress way back!

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceAnother one of those hundred-year-old trees. China sure has a looot of them. But seriously, tree, well done!

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceWe started going through this long hallway, which we were warned beforehand of as being one of the longest hallways in the world. However, the pretty stained and painted little shafts of windows kept us busy!

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceWe were supposed to go on this boat ride that would take us on a cruise where we can see sights only reachable by boat, but unfortunately the winds and water were uncooperative and especially rocky that day. 😦 Le sigh. Maybe that’s why we didn’t get to see these ever-famous bridges:

Summer Palace - Seventeen Arch Bridge at the Summer Palace

Seventeen Arch Bridge(十七孔桥)courtesy of bestourism.com

The Jade Belt Bridge

Jade Belt Bridge (玉带桥) courtesy of btmbeijing.com

Le sigh indeed. Would have loved to photograph these iconic bridges myself, but God has a purpose for everything, right? Forward we go!

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceAnd we walked, and walked, and walked… until we came into an area so unusual yet breathtaking, we thought we were in another town altogether!

Summer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer PalaceIt makes me suspect if there are actually people living inside! Come to think of it, we didn’t really bother to check…

DSC_5076DSC_5079…because we were too busy buying and testing cute souvenirs (LOL) and braving a dust storm with our immediate resources! Yes, seriously, a dust storm with all the particles billowing around furiously. First time in my life to have experienced that!

Summer PalaceLast Beijing post coming up soon! Woohoo! I’m sure you’re all probably sick of Beijing now, but trust me: if you haven’t been there, you NEED to go. 😀

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