Palace of Earthly Tranquility

Behind the Hall of Union is the Palace of Earthly Tranquility (Kunning Gong), a yin (earthly, feminine) counterpart of the yang (heavenly, masculine) Palace of Heaven Purity. In the Ming, this hall was the sleeping quarters of the empresses. It continued to bear this name during the Qing, though in fact the empresses did not stay here. In the Qing dynasty, the Palace of Earthly Tranquility was rebuilt so that its entrance stood at the east end of the south side of the hall rather than in the center, as was the general rule in the Forbidden City. This feature, and the presence of heated beds (kang) inside, can be explained by the fact that during the Qing dynasty the palace was used as a shrine for private Manchu shamanistic practices. There was a daily ritual sacrifice to some 15 gods, including Sakyamuni Buddha and a number of Mongolian deities. Four pigs were offered in sacrifice each day, while at major rituals in the spring and autumn personally attended by the emperor and empress, 39 swine went up in smoke. Several of the Qing emperors and empresses lodged in the east “heated chamber” attached to this hall on their three- day honeymoon. The buildings behind the hall to the north housed the imperial medical clinic and pharmacy.

In the northeastern corner of the courtyard, behind the Palace of Earthly Tranquility, is a small display of European and Chinese toys from the 18th and 19th centuries. It should not be missed.

Passing north through the Gate of Earthly Tranquility (Kunming Men) we come to the Imperial Garden (Yuhua Yuan), parts of which date back to the Ming. This garden was only one of the many retreats the emperors had at their disposal in Peking, but in spite of its proximity they tended to spend less time here than in the vast grounds of the garden palaces at Zhongnanhai, the western suburbs (in the Yuanming Yuan, Yihe Yuan and Yuquan Shan) and Chengde (formerly Jehol or Rehe, home to the Mountain Retreat for Avoiding Heat). In this palace garden a vast array of disparate architectural elements is crowded into a small space, yet it still gives the impression of spaciousness compared to the more claustrophobic nearby residential courtyards.

The paths are decorated with charming mosaic designs of auspicious plants and animals. The rockery hill in the north part of the garden dates from the Ming Wanli period. The emperor and his consorts would climb to the top of this man-made mountain on several occasions during the year: when the paths of the constellations called the Herding Boy and Weaving Girl crossed in the heavens for their annual assignation; on the Mid-autumn Festival to gain a fine view of the full moon; and on the ninth day of the ninth month, the Double-Ninth Festival, when it was customary to climb to a high place (denggao). These occasions were also celebrated by the general populace. Reginald Johnston, Puyi’s English-language teacher, lived for a time in an apartment in the southwest section of this garden, now a small shop.

Garden Plants As Effective Mole Control Methods

There are far more mole control methods that any homeowner can possibly make use of to protect their lawns and plants from the digging activities of these small creatures. Apart from the barbaric use of traps and poisons, there are actually more humane ways to get these mammals out of your yard. You can even choose to simply coexist with them by fashioning your landscape in a way that will benefit both you and the moles.

If living with moles in your yard is something that is not acceptable to you, then perhaps you can make use of plants that possess certain characteristics that are rather unappealing or even revolting to moles. The results that you will get from using such mole control methods are not exactly as effective as other types, but using such natural ways offers more benefits than many of the more conventional methods.

The castor bean plant has proven itself again and again as being a very effective deterrent for moles. In fact, castor bean is the active ingredient of most of the commercial mole repellants available in the market today. This tropical plant grows at a height of about 15 feet and features big star-shaped leaves. The castor plant was once used as a laxative and could potentially cause harmful effects, especially to your children and pets, so make sure to keep them away from this plant.

Coming in second to the castor bean is the Caper Spurge. Aptly given the title as the “Mole Plant”, this living mole repellant grows to about 2 feet tall and thrives in areas where there is an adequate amount of sunlight. Despite its known notoriety in being an effective mole repellent, this plant actually would work as a very attractive accent to any flower bed. Just like the castor bean, this plant is also dangerous to children and pets so they should not be planted in high traffic areas.

The Mexican Marigold might not possess the most beautiful aromas in the flower kingdom but it would be a nice addition to any flower garden. This has long been used for companion planting so its positive effects in repelling pests such as moles are hardly questioned. Companion planting is a pest control method where a certain plant prevents the harming of other desirable plants.

Flower bulbs are also very effective for mole control. Aside from giving your yard the color and variety that it needs, these flowers can also ensure that your lawn will be free from any unsightly holes and mounds. Along with the daffodil, a couple more of the most popular flowers include the Siberian squill and the crown imperial.

Vegetable and herb bulbs such as garlic, onions, shallots, and chives also repel moles effectively. Onions, most especially, are able to effectively keep away moles because of naturally strong odor. There are herb and vegetables bulbs that also provide aesthetic appeal to wherever they are planted so using these plants as mole control methods will not exactly take a toll in the overall beauty of your lawn.

Barcelona With Children

Barcelona is one of the favourite Spanish destinations for travellers from the entire world. Even the children choose the city as their favourite one when they leave home. If you want to enjoy the best family holidays, a big city such as Barcelona has the widest leisure offer for parents and children. In addition, it enjoys an ideal climate all the year round, with soft temperatures in winter and warm temperatures in summer. Thus, the children can go to the parks and to the beaches throughout the four seasons.

Travelling with children is not a problem anymore. Quite the opposite! The children will not have time to get bored and the parents will enjoy the city with the whole family! In addition, Barcelona has beaches and mountains. What other reason do you need to bring your children to Barcelona? They will have a great time!

The best way to start the day is going to the Poble Espanyol, where the kids will have fun while they discover the streets and the squares of the whole of Spain. Poble Espanyol is a hall where some of the most beautiful buildings and monuments from around the Spanish country are reproduced. Its narrow streets also hide a whole world full of life: workshops, shops, museums, restaurants and even green spaces for playing!

After having a tour around the Spanish geography without leaving Barcelona, you should take your children to the Aquàrium. There you may stroll under a 80 metre glass tunnel to see the sharks. This Aquarium is one of the largest in the world: it holds 11,000 animals from 450 different marine species. Recently a section for Humboldt penguins has been open. In addition, the kids may play in Explora, an interactive leisure and educational space, with more than 50 interactivities to touch, look at, listen to, investigate and discover nature. We promise an unforgettable experience for children and adults!

And talking about animals… The next stop is the Zoo. Barcelona’s Zoo is one of the oldest in Spain. It was inaugurated in 1940. Unfortunately, the big star of the zoo, Copito de Nieve (an albino gorilla unique in the world) died in 2004. But there are many other animals like the dolphins, the lions, the hippopotamus or the rhinoceros.

The Zoo is located in one of the most beautiful and charming parks in Barcelona, The Citadella. It is one of the largest lungs of the city and a must for everybody. Strolling among its avenues and gardens is a real pleasure. Inside the park, there is a lake where children can sail in a boat for only three Euros! In addition, you can visit the Geology and the Zoology Museums.

After a wonderful stroll around The Ciutadella Park, you should take your children to the Imax Cinema. This cinema is a large-format cinema located in the Port Vell. Projections take place on a 600 square meter screen. Special 3D glasses are used to feel like you are in another world: everything seems to be real!

Do you want your children to spend an entertained and educative afternoon? Then, take them to Cosmocaixa! Cosmocaixa is the Science Museum in Barcelona. Visitors are invited to interact with many of the scientific experiments, making the whole experience richer and more entertaining, particularly for children.

If you want to visit a few amusement parks in Catalunya with your kids you need at least a day. You can go to the Tibidabo Park, a beautiful and charming theme park, which has the best views of Barcelona city. Its attractions are open since the 19th century. On the other hand, you can go to Port Aventura. It´s located in Tarragona. You just need 90 minutes by car to go there. It is a theme park full of action-packed adventures from all corners of the globe: imperial China, the Far West, exotic Polynesia, Aztec México and the mellow Mediterrània.

The Camp Nou is a must too! The Camp Nou Tour is the best way to experience Barça from within. This tour takes you through the past and present of an emblematic stadium and the Barça Museum. Maybe your children can get an autograph of their favourite football players! Finally, you and your children have to go to the Ramblas, the most famous street in Barcelona. It goes from Catalunya Square to the Columbus statue. Your kids will have a great time there looking at the newspaper kiosks, the flower and animal stalls, and all sorts of artists.

Travel to “la ciudad condal” with your children and rent Apartments in Barcelona

It’s cheaper than a hotel and you’ll have more privacy and freedom and make feel your kids as if they were at home!