So I had Mandarin lessons on Saturday morning, yes, a Saturday morning! I’m not sure who it was, but someone initiated a group outing to the Lama Temple. We were accompanied by one of our student volunteers who knew the way and also brought incense sticks with her. I think it’s technically one temple but there are lots of halls where you can pray. I think most people pray in either the ones they need – like for health, job prospects etc. or they pray in every hall. You can also leave a donation too as well as the incense. I felt like a bit of a fool praying whilst all of my friends were just watching, they didn’t see the point when they didn’t understand how to pray or why they were. They just took pictures.This is the entrance to one of the main halls near the entrance. The ticket is quite cool too as there’s a mini CD included – I haven’t yet loaded it onto my computer but I will, and will probably be overwhelmed by Chinese text.
There are also cynclindral type things? (I’m not quite sure what it is..) that you can spin for good luck too, like the one below.My geekier Maths side also came out when I saw this sign outside one of the halls.
There’s also the world’s largest Buddha (there’s a small plaque outside mentioning the Guinness World Book of Records) and it’s massive! Also apparently carved from one tree…which is pretty impressive. My camera couldn’t fit it all in one shot either.
Realising we only had a week left, my friend and I decided to visit the Summer Palace after as we didn’t have any time during the next week to go somewhere that far. My other friend had been once already which was good as he too us around the main parts.
There’s a giant lake which was frozen and people were casually walking across. We went a few steps before running back to the platform, it would not be fun to fall in no matter how many locals do it. The palace isn’t really a palace as there aren’t any walls since it was used in summer and alot of it is spread out around the lake. It’s still pretty cool to go to the highest part and look out at Beijing though.
This is part of the lake, by the time we got there is was quite late and sunset but it meant great pictures and great views!
There’s also a bridge leading to an island in the lake, you can walk across the ice or take the bridge like we did. The island isn’t as great as the rest of the place, but it was getting dark and cold so I’ll probably go again in the summer to see what it’s meant to be like.
When we got back we were really hungry and my friend wanted to visit Lakers as he hadn’t been yet (which was strange as everyone had been by this point) and instead of the huge 19-inch pizza I got a burger.
Sorry for the very long post but I condensed as much as possible! It still shocks me how much we managed to do in three weeks…if we had more time who knows what else we could have done?