Winter at the Summer Palace


Lovely post on the Summer Palace in Beijing.

Originally posted on backpackerlee:

During my most recent visit to Beijing, it was a very chilly -3c. There was ice everywhere and some snow that was still laying on the ground. A typical Beijing winter, you might say! One morning I left my hostel in the Wangfujing area of the city and headed off in a taxi to the Summer Palace .

Situated around 20 minutes drive outside downtown Beijing, between the 4th and 5th ring roads, the Summer Palace is a complex of palaces, gardens, and lakes. Dominated by Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, the Summer Palace was built in 1750 as a retreat for the Emperors of the Qing Dynasty - and at 742 acres it is a very large retreat and clearly fit for royalty!


Although it was very, very cold, it provided a great opportunity to see one of Beijing’s prime tourist attractions in a way that is not normally presented…

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Anjali Agarwal Heads to the Races

Anjali Agarwal Heads to the Races

These fine bulls are getting ready for their race in a village off the tourist town of Lonavala. It is the morning after Maha Shivratri or the Great Night of Shiva. Devotees spend the night in Jagran, a night long vigil singing songs honoring the God. The day after is the day to head down to the races.


The bulls are attached to a rudimentary chariot for the charioteer and they race along a straight track. They race against the clock as it is dangerous to have more than one pair of racers on the track at one time. In fact, Anjali had to jump out of the way to avoid getting gored by a pair of runaway bulls.


Like all race tracks, this one too has a killer public address system.


Food stalls served vada pavs fresh off the frying pan. Vada Pav, potato burger, is huge crowd favorite and Anjali says this stall did brisk business through the day.


No race is complete without an audience. This one too had villagers enjoying the action on their holiday.

Anjali used her Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro to capture these images.


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Maximilian Dangel Frames a Bird’s Eye View of #Heidelberg

Maximilian Dangel Frames a Bird's Eye View of #Heidelberg

Heidelberg, in Germany, lends its name to the “Heidelberg Man,” the earliest known human inhabitant in Europe. He is supposed to have lived 600,000 to 200,000 years ago…his jaw bone was discovered in 1907, near the city. The Romans built a fort in the region in 40 AD. The city itself traces its history to the 5th century when the village of Bergheim is mentioned in documents from that era.

Bergheim is part of Heidelberg today. The first reference to today’s city dates to 1196. A few years later, in 1214, the earliest known structure of the Heidelberg Castle came up. This was later expanded into two castles. The current structure dates back to 1650. The castle has taken a beating, been ravaged by fires, struck by lightning, suffering damages during wars. But it still survives and is a major monument and tourist attraction.

The castle apart, the city also boasts of an eclectic mix of Churches from different periods. The Philosopher’s walk is also a favorite for visitors to the city.

Max used his HTC Desire HD to click this image of the city. Max has got a wonderful and eclectic collection of urbanscapes on his tumblr. Click on the image to check out his unusual and fascinating images.


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Lizzy Sison Catches Ice Fishing in #Quebec

Lizzy Sison Catches Ice Fishing in #Quebec

Lizzy says ice fishing is a favorite pass time, around this time when the river near her home is frozen solid. She says “Ice Fishing is very much enjoyed as a sport or a pastime everywhere in Quebec once the layer of ice covering our rivers/lakes is thick enough. I was told that the ice layer is now about 3 feet thick. Ice fishing enthusiasts install themselves with little huts (cabanon) to protect themselves from the harsh winter weather. The most common fish species that they catch: walleye, grey trout, catfish, pike, sturgeon and yellow perch. Weekends are the best! They get together with family and friends.

The second image shows a fisherman drilling through the ice to reach the water and fish below.


Lizzy used her iPhone 5 to capture these images at Sur La Rivière Des Milles Îles, in Quebec, Canada.

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Antonio Rodriguez Frames a Rainy #Veracruz

Antonio Rodriguez Frames a Rainy #Veracruz

Antonio used his HTC One to frame his image of his hometown Veracruz, in Mexico. Veracruz, situated on the Gulf of Mexico, is home to the country’s oldest and largest port. Hernan Cortes, the Spanish explorer credited with bringing about the downfall of the Aztec Empire, is also responsible for the city of Veracruz.

When he first landed in Mexico he established a city which he named Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz. The city was famous for its wealth and as a result suffered repeated attacks by pirates. The city was also invaded by France and the United States.

Now Veracruz is better known for its port, as it has emerged as the principal location for much of Mexico’s international trade, especially for the automotive industry. Given its port status the city has a blend of cultures…mainly indigenous, Spanish and African.

Tourists to the city are captivated by its history and culture. Among the most popular attraction are the Fort San Juan de Ulúa, the aquarium and the museum.

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Stephen Steele Captures Smart Art in #Bangkok

Stephen Steele Captures Smart Art in #Bangkok

Stephen took this image near Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the city’s top attractions. About the market he says “every Saturday and Sunday, thousands of Thais and foreigners alike gather for a food and shopping extravaganza. Thousands of items are available from home accessories to souvenirs to exotic fish and pets. If it’s available somewhere in the world, you can bet it will be available for sale at Bangkok’s weekend market! This store wasn’t located directly inside the market. It was located outside, along the market’s periphery.”

Stephen, a photo journalist based in Bangkok used his iPhone 4S to capture this moment. Clicking on the image takes you to his twitter feed.

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Tatyana Tihomirova Visits The Bahá’í Gardens in #Haifa

Tatyana Tihomirova Visits The Bahá’í Gardens in #Haifa

The Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa, Israel see over half a million visitors a year, making them one of the most visited spots in Israel.

The Bahá’í complex in Haifa is one of the two most important locations for the Bahá’í faith, along with Akko, which is visible across the bay from the Haifa complex. The Haifa complex is home to the final resting place of the Bab, or  the Gate in Arabic.

The Bab plays a role similar to John the Baptist in Christianity. He announced the imminent arrival of the founder of the faith–Bahá’u’lláh, or The Promised One of All Ages. Bahá’u’lláh’s final resting place is in Akko.

The garden in Haifa spreads out from the top of Mount Caramel in nineteen terraces. They overlook the bay and across that the gardens in Akko. The gardens in Haifa and Akko make it to the UNESCO World Heritage site. Tatyana used her Huwaei Ascend to get this shot from on top of Mount Caramel.

Tatyana is a professional wedding photographer in Belarus. Clicking on the image will take you to her site and her splendid collection of photographs.

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Hollie Visits the Summer Palace in #Beijing

Hollie Visits the Summer Palace in #Beijing

The Forbidden Palace and the Great Wall of China make it to the bucket list of every tourist to Beijing. Only when these are done, do they take the time to check out some of the other places and topping the list of “other” interesting destinations is my favorite place in the city, bar none.

It is the summer palace, more lake and verdant parks than buildings that I simply have to go to every time I visit Beijing. Yes, the lake freezes over in winter and yes there is a reason it is called the Summer Palace…but this place, possibly tells the most beautiful and enchanting tale of China’s emperors and their love for beauty. History here dates back to 1122 when the Jin Dynasty emperor first built a palace. But, as is common when one dynasty replaces another, the name changed with the change in dynasty, as did the structure.

The current name came about in 1752, during the Qing era. The Summer Palace complex is dominated by the Kunming lake and the Longevity Hill. While the front of the hill is dotted with marvelous palaces and pavilions the back of the hill is left untouched for nature to play its part. Interestingly, both the lake and the hill are man made…with the soil from the lake excavation being used to create the hill. The whole complex made it to the UNESCO World Heritage list in1998.

Obviously the ideal time to visit the Summer Palace would be in summer, but winter is not a bad time either. Hollie made it there during the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival break. As you can see the palace is at its vibrant best as it brings in the Year of the Horse. Click on the image to see Hollie’s take on China. She has some spectacular images up.

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Comy Como Frames Japan’s Icons

Comy Como

Comy captures two of Japan’s most iconic features in one amazing shot with his iPhone 5C. First the mountain. Mt Fuji, with its almost perfectly symmetrical cone, is arguably Japan’s most recognizable symbol. It is possibly the only natural structure in the world to be listed among the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The UNESCO citation says this is because, “Mount Fuji has inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries.”

Situated about 100 Kms from Tokyo the mountain, at 3776.24 meters, is the highest in Japan. It is also one of the three holy mountains in the country along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku. It is popular with climbers with close to 300,000 adventurers summiting each year. The best time to make the climb is in July and August.

The Shinkasen, in the foreground, gained worldwide fame for being the fastest rail network when launched on October 1, 1964, in time for the Tokyo Olympics. The first service was between Tokyo and Osaka and early travelers took to referring to the service as the Bullet Train, a moniker that is still in use today. The Shinkasen service has greatly expanded since those early days. Over 2300 Kms of high speed rail line now cover the country.

The Japan-Osaka line is the world’s busiest high speed line carrying over 150 million passengers a year. Shinkasen trains reach a maximum speed of 320 kmph, though they have clocked much higher in speed trails. Click on the image to see more pictures from Comy Como.

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Michael Petryk Clicks the Freeze in #Kelowna

Michael Petryk Clicks the Freeze in #Kelowna

Kelowna is a city in British Colombia, Canada. The city sits on the shores of the Okanagan Lake. The city is in the grip of a severe winter, with temperatures ranging between -5 degrees and -16 degrees.

The city is also experiencing unusually heavy snow fall. Micheal took his iPhone 5C out to capture the wintry beauty of his city and its lake. Click on the image to see more pictures from Michael.

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