Today is Qingming Festival, which is supposed to be a day for tomb sweeping. However, since I didn't go back to my hometown, I decided to go out for an outing.
The best place for an outing is somewhere with mountains and water. I've already been to Fragrant Hills and Beihai Park, so the only place left is the Summer Palace.
Without further ado, I invited a friend and set off from Wangjing in the morning to Haidian District. There weren't many people on the way, but when we arrived at Babaoshan Station, I was shocked by the crowd. It was beyond words to describe the popularity of the western suburbs line.
It's partly my fault for not considering everything. Clearly, the western suburbs line has popular attractions such as the Summer Palace, Botanical Garden, and Fragrant Hills, but I still chose this route. I waited for about an hour or two before finally getting on the western suburbs line. While on the train, I looked at the clear sky outside the suburbs, rows of poplar trees passing by, and peach blossoms about to bloom. Everything was full of the feeling of spring.
Fortunately, we arrived at the west gate of the Summer Palace before noon. There weren't many tourists, as expected. It was a less crowded route. Breathing in the fresh air, feeling the spring breeze on my face, I had a sense of liberation, as if "after a long time in the cage, I finally returned to nature."
Soon, we realized that we made a mistake - the tickets for the day were sold out! Just when we were about to give up, I decided to boldly ask the ticket inspector: "Is there any way to get in if we can't buy tickets today?" The ticket inspector pointed me in the right direction and said to try refreshing the payment page a few more times, maybe we could grab some refunded tickets. It suddenly dawned on me that there was such a trick! And surprisingly, I managed to grab some tickets within five minutes. Today, I learned something strange.
After successfully entering the park, we were greeted by Kunming Lake, with Wanshou Mountain in the distance. The Buddhist Fragrance Pavilion on the mountain stood out prominently, visible from any angle. Kunming Lake shimmered, and the shore was lined with willow trees that had been there for decades or even hundreds of years, their branches swaying in the wind. At this moment, I couldn't help but recite a poem: "The shimmering water under the clear sky is beautiful."
We walked north along the western dike of Kunming Lake, heading towards Wanshou Mountain. Along the way, in addition to the weeping willows, there were peach blossoms and plum blossoms, complementing the beauty of Kunming Lake.
At the foot of Wanshou Mountain, there are many pavilions connected by different bridges, and the water under the bridges is clear and transparent.
There are many buildings on Wanshou Mountain, mainly built around the Buddhist Fragrance Pavilion. However, except for the buildings on the central axis that can be visited, the pavilions on both sides are not open to the public. The Buddhist Fragrance Pavilion requires a separate admission fee of ¥10 per person. After entering, the towering Buddhist Fragrance Pavilion came into view, majestic and grand. Climbing up the stairs, I could truly feel the solemnity and nobility of these buildings. The handrails are made of yellow porcelain enamel, and the bricks are mostly glazed with yellow and green enamel, showcasing their royal identity.
The mountain is not high, but it is quite steep. We had to climb two sets of stairs with steep slopes. After reaching the top, we could overlook the buildings below and Kunming Lake, which was a feast for the eyes.
After crossing the Seventeen-Arch Bridge, our final stop was Nanhu Island, connected by the famous Seventeen-Arch Bridge. I first learned about this bridge in my junior high school history textbook. I still remember its biggest feature - the hundreds of stone lions in various poses on the bridge. When I got on the bridge and observed a few stone lions, it turned out that none of them were the same. Why is that? Could it be that ancient craftsmen thought it was too laborious to carve them all the same and deliberately designed them to be different, creating a unique style?
After walking across the Seventeen-Arch Bridge, our visit to the Summer Palace came to an end. We had walked nearly 20,000 steps, and it was already 4:30 in the afternoon. It was time to find a place to eat.
I chose the Scorpion King Lamb Spine Hot Pot (Xinjiekou Branch), which was recommended by a friend some time ago. It's interesting because I didn't know what lamb spine was until my friend reminded me that it's the spine of a lamb, not made from scorpions...
Since we were exhausted from the visit to the Summer Palace, we were in desperate need of a good meal. I ordered a "2-3 Person Premium Set" and unexpectedly, it wasn't enough, so we added two more dishes. The total bill was only 200 yuan.
Their hot pot is really good, I dare say it can rank in the top five in Beijing's cuisine. I regret not coming to eat here earlier.
The lamb spine was really delicious. Each of us had more than ten pieces, and the portion was generous. Especially the soup, no matter what ingredients we put in to cook, it was extremely delicious. Because I am sensitive to the taste of lamb, ever since I had a whole roasted lamb two years ago, the smell left a lasting impression on me. Therefore, I am very cautious when it comes to lamb-related dishes. But the lamb at this place had no gaminess at all, it wasn't too overpowering or too bland, it perfectly brought out the deliciousness of the lamb.
Unfortunately, I didn't drink the soup before adding the ingredients. By the time I remembered to drink the soup, it was already towards the end of the meal, and the hot pot had already mixed the flavors of many other ingredients, so I missed out on the pure taste. Next time, I must taste the soup first before cooking the ingredients.
After eating for about an hour and a half, we were stuffed. We didn't even eat many of the handmade noodles in the end. But I was already very satisfied, with beautiful scenery and delicious hot pot.