The Galitz Journal for friends and family
Beijing and Beihai
On my free day in Beijing, I took in Beihai (northern sea) park. We missed this park when we visited Beijing in 2002. It was only a short walk from the hostel to this lake side park north of the Forbidden city. The oldest and largest imperial park (167 acres), it was opened in 1925 for the public.
I walked passed the street where the tours of the old hutongs (neighborhoods) take place and passed a couple of mansions of famous people. Stopped and checked out the the old imperial pharmaceutical buildings from the 1700’s which is now a Traditional Chinese Medicine shop.
Entering the North Gate of Beihai turned out to be less of a zoo than if I had entered through the South gate. There were glassed in exhibits of some of the old rooms (Halls/Pavilions).
After looking at the freestanding dragon wall, I wandered into the main area which was filled with people wandering around the lake.
Many people paddling on the water along with a few motor boats and the ferry that takes people to the White Dagoda on Jade island.
Watched a small band play and walked over to the West gate. Had to actually exit the park to cross a bridge to get to the South Gate. At the south gate they accepted my pass and checked out the circular city circa 1400’s(Fortress) for 1y. There was a white jade Buddha (no pictures allowed) supposedly brought from Burma during the 19th century. Had my photo taken in costume with my camera for 10y (their camera was 25y).
I thought the best relic was the gigantic jade bowl – 2 ft high and 5 ft across that was decorated with sea monsters created in 1265.
Tradition states that Kublai Khan used it to serve wine. It was also lost for many years after its hall had collapsed but returned. The emperor bought it back for 1000 gold bars in 1745. I couldn’t get a good picture of it because it was glassed-in and there were lots of reflections.
Got my exercise by climbing the steps up to the White Dagoda (118 ft high) built in 1651 in honor of the 5th Dalai Lama. It was actually more beautiful from afar than close up.
There were some ancient caves to explore (all lit up with lots of statues of ancestors?). They had sprinklers running in the wooded areas so it was actually cooler to walk up than it could have been. My feet were getting tired so I took the ferry boat back to the North gate. There were 3 Romanians on board – one from Toronto who spoke English. They were on a 30 person tour (all Romanians except for 2 Bulgarians) for 8 days held by a natural healing Chinese doctor).
Walked back and got some bok choy noodle soup and spicy eggplant.