Every morning, at the Crown Plaza we had a huge buffet breakfast. The food was plentiful and cheap! If you can beleive it, they had a huge "cheese cake' section,...just in the deserts area. Ahhhhh....it was so tasty! Here is Mike on his 2nd or 3rd plate....:)
The first stop for this next day was a Shaolin Temple. It had originally been a small palace, but one of the Emperors gave it to the Shaolins when he became emperor. Here is a guardian lion spirit.
Here is a shot of Xing Xing and myself. Don't I look like the "Crocodile Hunter"? Heh. This temple complex has the largest single piece of wood Budda in the world. It is about 200 feet high, and the temple was built around it. It is indoors, and no photos are allowed.
We were there very early in the morning when it first opened up, but just minutes after it was opened, it was filled with people burning incesnse and making prayers. There were dozens of shops around the temple area selling incense. Huge bundles of it!
Here is a large bronze urn for burning incense. Xing Xing was very knowledgeable about everything, and was always able to answer our questions, and give us cool stories to tell about the places we visite. With the hotel, car, driver and tour guide, it was like being very very rich. Mike and I really like it!
Here we enter the Summer Palace complex. The Emperor would come here every year to perform rituals to ensure that the ensuring year was a good one. The ceremony started at dawn, and would have thousands of people participating.
More shots of the Summer Palace...large grounds and lots of shops and things to see.
The garden area was several hundred acres, and there were many groups doing Tai Chi and sword practices around this area.
Here is a long pathway going from the entrance gates to the actual ceremony temple complex at the Summer Palace.
Here is a shot from the Palace Building looking into the main courtyard.