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The Empress Qu Hong

Beijing's Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is Qu Hong's favorite place in Beijing. She spends so much time here, guiding, that I told her she should start her Palace tours by saying, "Welcome to my home".

She seems so at home here, in fact, that I started calling her "The Empress Qu Hong".

It's fitting, I think.

There is much to like about the Summer Palace. It has an interesting history. 
Every inch of the grounds, it seems, has a story.

This rock was a birthday present.
This room was a prison.
So on, and so forth.

And then there's the Long Corridor, a - guess what? - long corridor, almost a kilometer long.

The corridor is filled with paintings from the history, legend, and poems of China, and it's very impressive.

There's the architecture, which is, of course, overdone, but still interesting.
And there's a few attractive temples.

But mostly, there's the lake. And all the bridges, boats, and scenic spots that go with it.

You just know that as soon as the Imperial Family escaped the concrete ocean that is the Forbidden City, and arrived here at the Summer Palace, they exhaled a couple liters of relieved royal breath.

I know I did.

Green trees, fresh air, clear skies, beautiful bridges, the sound of waves lapping against boats, images reflecting of still waters...

Yep, Qu Hong has a nice home.

Me and Qu Hong