|At Xiuyi Bridge, Kunming Lake, Summer Palace|
This was Chris' free day, another fine summer's day that we began by walking to a nearby ATM to draw some cash that we didn't need. Because we wanted to visit the Summer Palace (yi he yuan), we liked Howard's suggestion to take a river boat there, from the zoo, its north gate being a short walk from our hotel. So this time we entered the zoo on a fine day, and of course it was packed with young families. Our admission, including the boat fare, came to a tiny fraction of what we'd paid the previous week, only ¥65 in total, maybe because we weren't intending to visit the Aquarium this time. Who knows? Anyhow, as we had 45 minutes to wait for the next boat (chuán), it was pleasant to stroll around in the sunshine spotting a few more animals than before––a mongoose, a rhino, a cassowary and the Australian kangaroos. For some reason they had a great many tapir pens.
|Hippos at the Beijing zoo|
|Speedboat and riverboat dock, at Beijing zoo|
Our leisurely ride up the river took a whole hour, partly because we had to change boats at Zizhuyuan Park (near the National Library). The first boat was crowded, the second less so; a little girl in the seat in front made friends with us.
At the end of the ride we landed at the steeply arched Xiuyi Bridge that I remembered so well from our first ever day in China, in 2011, when Sha had taken us for a walk round Kunming Lake and the palace grounds. We repeated a lot of that walk this time, wandering slowly along the West Causeway (Xidi) with its six bridges, that replicates the walkway across West Lake in Hangzhou. Inevitably, we missed the company we'd had on that first occasion and felt nostalgic for Hangzhou as well, but these were happy and for me, very vivid memories. Like the Chinese ladies, I carried an open umbrella to keep the sun off. The views were splendid.
|View of Kunming Lake with the distant hills and pagoda|
|The souvenir shop|
|Many boats seen from the north shore of Kunming Lake|
Then we took a Line 4 train from Xiyuan all the way to Xizhimen. That was easy!