This was by far my favorite day spent in China. We had already been in Beijing a few days (not going in order here) and I was getting kinda sick of the cold, all I wanted was a big cozy hoody but that was not going to fit in my pack. So that morning we were slow to wake up and took our time to get out of our warm beds. We ordered the "American Breakfast" from a cafe at noon... seriously the best American breakfast of my life, made me proud to be an American. After eating we caught the subway to Summer Palace. It was highly recommended by Blake's international adviser but all we knew was this is where the Empress spent her summers.
It turned out that this was my number one favorite place in Beijing. Maybe because I had low expectation, or because the weather warmed up a little, but on our trip here Blake and I just enjoyed ever minute and played. Summer Palace seems to have winter friendly activities as well. Right as we walked in there were these sled/ski looking things, we had to try. They were so much fun, I have a video to put together to show how they work. But the big question is why do they not have these things in the states? I mean, maybe they do, I don't get to see a lot of ice in the winter so I wouldn't know, but they should be an Olympic sport of some kind. We spent a good deal of time racing, spinning, drifting and a little falling til our knees and butts started to hurt. After sledding we walked around the market surrounding the water way, then up the hill into the palace buildings. The grounds were just as impressive as The Forbidden City, with every walkway and hand rail decoratively carved. Here there where many different styles of architecture, colors, and symbolism, I felt like it had more personality.
We climbed the many steps to the main hill which looked out across a frozen lake. We could see people walking out on the ice and as I have never before walked on a large body of water I really wanted to try. It was quite a journey to where the water was walk-able, we took the scenic route passing the palace boat docks with festive boats tided up and through a park of trees. It was seriously such a long walk I almost gave up. But we finally made it to where others were starting to walk out. It was way more nerve racking then I thought it would be. Thoughts of falling into freezing water kept entering my mind. Yet, I'm so glad we didn't turn back. There was something invigorating about walking out onto the lake.
I can't explain why this day was so much fun, just being with Blake and his silly self, in a foreign place, walking on a frozen lake as the sun set. I don't really get lovey dovey on social media, but this trip to Asia felt like a second honeymoon. Most the time we had no wifi and nothing to do but spend time together as we wondered around in discovering new things. It was just romantic.