Mornings in China start off early, and yesterday was no different. The sun rises around 4:30am, so there's no convincing little ones to go back to sleep for another hour or two. They're itching for the breakfast buffet to start at 6:00am. So cookies and chips from the day before hold them over until breakfast service begins.
After breakfast, we met our guide, Min An, in the hotel lobby. It was a nice drive over to the Summer Palace. We stopped by a pearl shop to look around and use the facilities because they're cleaner there than at the Summer Palace (Madeline and I experienced that truth first hand.) We entered through the East Gate and exited a little further south near the Seventeen arches bridge. We passed by the Hall of Longevity and Benevolence and walked along the Painted Corridor.
It was a little hot for the dumplings, so we picked up a hat for Caleb and an umbrella for Madeline. Personally, I thought the weather was beautiful. The rain that fell for a few days prior to our arrival took with it all the humidity. It was crisp and pleasant to walk around.
The Long Corridor, or painted corridor, has over 14,000 paintings. It's truly amazing. Along the corridor are four pavillions, one for each season.
We stopped for some hot dogs on a stick and popcorn.
In the center of the Summer Palace is Kunming Lake. We took a boat across it.
On our way back to the hotel, our driver took us past the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube where some the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic events were held. Our hotel has this little manmade stream running through it. So Caleb and Madeline like to look out at the fish swimming as we make our way back to our room.
I stayed back with the kids as Patrick walked around to find some lunch. He picked up some rice and noodle dishes that were a big hit. The kids also thought it was fun to pretend drinking tea in the cups provided in our room.
Eventually the food and the time zone caught up with them, and they laid down for a little nap.
Today is a free day for us, nothing scheduled. When we were here 5 years ago, we ventured over to Beihai Park with some of our travel group but without a guide. So we'd like to do that again. This time, though, we are going to take the subway. We are really enjoying our time here together as a family. China is so exciting and always an adventure!