Category Archives: weekend outing

The Mountain of Soul

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Last Saturday, we went mountaineering. We chose the highest place of Beijing, the Mountain of Soul, located in the western end of Beijing. On our way up, we saw horses, cows and pet dogs running and lying around, or snoring off. As we got higher, mountains and moors spread and stretched themselves to where the sky ends. On the sea level of 2300 m, I felt my heart beating really fast and am constantly out of breath.

Alter of Heaven

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This is the full view of the Alter of Heaven, a place where the emperors of China used to make sacrifice to heaven. I got this from the back of the alter, so not many tourists blocking sight. Of course, seeing is not enough. You have to be there to experience its scale, especially the square on which the whole temple was built.

One pity is the sky looked grayish. But it is really becoming harder to have a blue sky in Beijing nowadays, not to mention clear air.

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This is a closer look of the alter. The exquisite style is quite characteristic of the buildings in Qing Dynasty. To get a look at the inside is almost impossible, not only because access is not allowed, but also because of too many tourists blocking you away from the door narrowly open on the other side. I wish next time I could come at 6 a.m. when others are still in bed!

An excursion to Yuan Mingyuan Old Summer Palace

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Yuan Mingyuan is a very popular travel destination in Beijing, as the Qing Dynasty’s Emperors once frequented this place. Lying on the outskirts of the city  (out of fourth ring road), it is not as hot as the downtown places, both in climate and tourism.

The park is better known for the huge remains of Qing Dynasty stone statues than its natural scenes.

It is the latter that lures us there. The vast lake, though a little smaller than Kunming Lake in Summer Palace, is certainly worth a little attention. Standing by the lake, feeling the moist breeze in your hair, you just need to take a breath and the world is all yours.

Watch this lotus for a little while, and you have all the dusty downtown life behind your back. There is serenity here.

The autumn began a couple of weeks ago in Beijing. A Chinese idiom goes like this, with just one dried leaf, you know the autumn has arrived.