I exclaimed (in my heart) giddily, after climbing up hill in the middle Jingshan Park (景山公园). I was feeling a bit like Rocky jogging up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps, but without the jogging lightly on the spot at the top and the fist pumping in the air. There were just too many tourists around.
The park is located to the north of the Forbidden City in Beijing, a little oasis in the heart of the city. This hill in the middle of the park was actually man-made, erected from the accumulation of the soil dug from the Forbidden City itself. Five intricately decorated pagodas were constructed on top of the hill, each poetically named. The picture above is the center and the biggest of the five pagodas, name Pagodas of the Eternal Spring (万春亭). Emperors during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasty were said to order various beautiful trees they've seen elsewhere to be uprooted and replanted in the park, for landscaping. The park used to be the playground for the emperors to admire the beauty of his palace, now it's opened to public to enjoy a little peace and quiet of green space in the middle of the bustling city.
Atop the hill it offers the splendid vista of the Forbidden City and the Beijing skyline and cityscape. Unfortunately it was a cold and hazy and gloomy wintery day during my visit. While the sweeping view of the Forbidden City was nonetheless impressive, but the same couldn't be said about the cityscape. It was a blur into the horizon.