At last, we were all feeling well today. The plan was to visit the Summer Palace, but first stop was yet another park - Yuyuantan Park, famous for its beautiful cherry and magnolia blossoms. In April the park hosts an annual cherry blossom festival to show off the over 2,000 trees of different types. Many of the trees are gifts from Japan when the two countries re-opened diplomatic relations in the 1970s. It was the cherry trees that were the primary reason for our visit.

The park is situated in the west of Beijing, next to the CCTV tower. We took a taxi that took us past the financial district and the many new buildings along Fuxingmennei Dajie. The park was packed, and the trees, in many different colours, were in full bloom, a beautiful sight. We followed the crowds, admired the trees, eat candy floss and listened to yet another choir however not of the same standard as the ones from Jingshan Park.

We took a taxi to the Summer Palace, the enormous area where the Imperial family and entourage came to escape the heat of the city. Our last visit to the Summer Palace was after collecting Daji - and was not a success - Daji cried and screamed for large parts of the trip. We were expecting it to be better this time around.

We strolled the tree-lined paths, crossed a handful of bridges as we walked around Kunming Lake which on the south side was almost free from tourists. The weather was very pleasant. Back to the North side of the lake, the Palace was packed with large groups not least the 700m long, Long Corridor, painted with mythical scenes and the Marble boat, built by Cixi with money earmarked for the navy.

We left the park via a side entrance, as we didnt fancy walking back to the main gate either going against the stream of the crowds or over the top of the hill. We got into a taxi, too late to realise that it was a fake taxi we noticed when he removed the taxi meter from the roof. The meter ticked away as we drove back to the hotel somewhat quicker than the meters we were used to however the taxi ended up costing 90RMB, instead of perhaps 70RMB if wed picked up an official taxi.

Steven spent a couple of hours applying to the Danish government for funds to change our windows at home in Denmark (a measure by the Danish Government to counter the finance crisis). Im sure we were the only family that applied from China!

The days and evenings were getting warmer in Beijing and we took a longer walk to a Muslim restaurant a couple of kilometres from the hotel, where the lamb was reputed to be excellent. It took some time to find it, the restaurant was hidden away in a Hutong, but it was worth the effort as the food was good, and the bottle of wine excellent (by the standards wed experienced so far this holiday).

NEXT DAY (15th)