Monday, September 15, 2014

Beijing To-Do: Stick Close to Nature

This is one of several posts about my trip to Beijing in July, up on Mondays.

You know the Great Wall and the Forbidden City already, but what else is there to do in Beijing? Well…

When you start feeling tired of concrete, steel and superhighways (but mostly concrete), it can be nice to withdraw for a moment into somewhere nice and green. Pay a modest entrance fee to wander around the picturesque waters of Beihai Park or the lively, shady park surrounding the Temple of Heaven. The middle-aged and senior populations come to parks like this one to dance, play kickarounds, and even sing live (and surprisingly well).

Of the standard Beijing attractions, I think my favorite one must be the Summer Palace. Having lived in lake-dotted, archipelago-famed Sweden all my life, I never really realized how isolated it feels to be inland and far away from the water, so the area around the Summer Palace became balm for my soul. You don’t even have to go up onto the palace hill: just sitting on the breezy rocks by Kunming Lake and watching the paddle-boats go by is pleasant (and much less sweaty) enough.

So there you have it. I don't normally take walks in the woods or, heaven forbid, do outdoor sports, but it's easy to take nature for granted until you lose the privilege. Have a glance at the smoggy skies in my pictures, for example. Take care of Mother Earth, yo.


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