Today was our last sightseeing day in Beijing so we had decided to take in the Summer Palace. It was about 12km away but we sussed out the right bus with no problem (apart from the normal Beijing traffic). The 1st stop in the palace was breakfast - we ended up in a reproduction old street from the 19th century. Tourist traps are the same the world over - very pretty but the food was expensive and awful.The summer palace was a wonderful place all the better for it was a nice sunny day. The palace had been destroyed several times - mostly by the British with various allies - but was still very magical. It had been rebuilt by the last empress at the turn of 19th century - she seemed to be very extravagant spending money that the country didn't have. The explanations in the palace all went on about her in great length - I think this was a bit of propaganda from the communists to show how bad the royal family was. The palace is built on the side of a hill with a lake beside it - we climbed the hill several times and walked round the lake - tiring but very good. The highlight for me was the marble boat - built with the money that should have been buying ships for the real navy. We finished there about three and headed back into town as I wanted to go to Jingshang Park which overlooks the Forbidden city and gives great views. We had a bit of navigational problems (bad advice from a Chinese student on the bus) and had to walk about 45 minutes. Fran was getting very weary by the time we got there. When she saw the size of the hill, it was almost grounds for divorce, but we climbed the steps to see the views and the lights (and pollution) of Beijing as the sun set..