June 15th, 2014

Summertime at the Summer Palace

Miami. Chicago. Beijing. I am definitely a girl that enjoys the city life. The hustle and bustle always motivates me to get out and join the pleasantly pushy people party, as I now like to call it. Whenever I am feeling down in a city it is nice to be able to look around and realize how much is going on. It makes it easier to not sulk and worry about the small things. My love for cities will always be strong, but a calming break every once in a while has its advantages. I enjoy jet skiing in Miami, barbecuing on the beach of Lake Michigan, and now relaxing on dragon-shaped boats at the Summer Palace.

Secluded and Serene, the Summer Palace is the ideal escape from the ever so active and populated Beijing. It truly amazes me how it sort of hides in plain sight. It is a little piece of paradise in the middle of the chaos. For lack of a better term, I will admit I was feeling a little “body of water” sick and this haven was definitely what the doctor ordered.

Once I was inside the grounds of the Summer Palace, I immediately thought to myself that the Qing emperors really knew how to enjoy themselves. The place gives off the feeling of actually overflowing with palaces, pavilions, temples, and beautiful landscapes. These gorgeously constructed attributes are perfectly placed around a peaceful lake. Exploring the buildings can be challenging at first, due to the uneven steps and rocks, but it definitely made me feel more adventurous. And of course it made the boat ride on the lake an even bigger reward. The ride across the lake allowed for some really great photos.

I could definitely not complete this post without acknowledging one of the impressive parts of my experience, encountering and admiring a certain group of Chinese women…the heel-wearers. Climbing up and down the steep stairs presented itself as a challenge to me in my Toms. I kept thinking to myself, “Why didn’t you just wear your sneakers? Come on Allison.” But then those once obvious thoughts became a little less obvious and more confused when I started noticing the sheer number of Chinese women in heels exploring the uneven palace. I lost count. There were the occasional ones who were dressed up for some sort of modeling shoot, but that was the minority. Chinese women really do commit to the idea that pain is gain in fashion. Props to them!

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