A little elevation goes a long way in Beijing, and our afternoon at the Summer Palace brought cooler temperatures and refreshing breezes. Locals and tour bus crowds keep this place busy, but this only gets to be a problem in some of the smaller courtyards. As many buildings in Beijing, the Summer Palace has been damaged and repaired over the centuries, reflected in the varying temples, gardens, pavilions, lakes, bridges, gate towers, and even a 700-meter long covered and decorated corridor.
Kunming Lake, with the Beijing skyline in the background, provides boating opportunities. The bridge over to the island in the lake is a popular spot for serious kite-flyers.
Courtyards are populated with a variety of mythical creatures.