Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Friday Afternoon at the Summer Palace

It was the third straight day of lovely Beijing fall weather. The north winds have cleared the skies of PM2.5 particulates, leaving but a few clouds on a blue background, calling for a Summer Palace tour on a lazy Friday afternoon. Just before 2 PM, I filled my water bottles, changed into my running gear and headed out to the subway. The number 4 line runs right past Peking U.’s East Gate, a mere stone’s throw from my office. The number 4 line also runs past the northern entrance of Yiheyuan (Yi-he-yuan, i.e., the Summer Palace). At 2:15 PM, I was at the Beigongmen, or North Palace Gate, entrance of the Summer Palace. I walked around the hill (topped by FoXiang Ge, or Buddha Fragrance Temple), and started to run at 2:20 PM, as I reached the Marble Boat on the north edge of Kunming Lake. 

17 Arches Bridge (photo taken June '12)

I carefully negotiated the crowd along Changlang (the Long Corridor) and only started to run my usual pace, at 2:36, after the crowd started to dissipate after the Shiqikong Bridge (17 Arches Bridge).

The bridge next to the South Gate

I reached the southern most gate at 2:41 PM, and headed to Xidi (West Dike). My left knee started to hurt a little from the pounding on the stone slab paved walkway. So I started to slow down a bit and shuffle (instead of bouncing). The view from the southern side of Kunming Lake was breathtaking. Unfortunately, I only had my Nokia (dumb) cell phone with me and so you will have to settle for these poorly snapped photos.

View from Xidi

By 2:56 I reached the bifurcation point on Xidi, where I took this photo. Ten minutes later I ended my run at the bathroom just west of Shiqiao (Stone Bridge). I stretched a bit at stone bridge where boats between Kunming Lake and Suzhou Jie (a make-believe version of a Suzhou waterfront row). When I finished stretching my hamstrings, I looked up and saw a tourist snapping a photo in my direction --- and so I probably ended up in a photo folder on somebody’s computer, stretching in front of the Stone Bridge.

View towards Suzhou Jie from the Stone Bridge

Miscellany. Unfortunately, for some reason, the current version of google maps doesn’t allow me to mark up my run around Kunming Lake:,116.275134&spn=0.016308,0.031414&sll=39.982382,116.291656&sspn=0.124431,0.251312&brcurrent=3,0x35f051505892a34f:0x6ea89d0cc8fe038c,0,0x35f05137c865ad63:0xd348af83c67dc389%3B5,0,0&hq=%E9%A2%90%E5%92%8C%E5%9B%AD&t=h&z=15

but measurement using baidu maps showed that the long way around Kunming Lake, by taking the farthest branch on Xidi, is around 6.5 km.

At the southern end of Kunming Lake (June '12)

Since the photos taken with my Nokia were rather poor, I had to fill this blog partially with old photos of the Summer Palace. Perhaps I should finally get a smartphone? (The alternative would be to remember to carry my Canon S95 on my runs?!?!)

View of Buddha Fragrance Temple from the east (June '12)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool pics!!!