While in China in 2012, my sisters and I visited the Old Summer Palace, the lesser known, less touristy, off-the-beaten path predecesor of the popular Summer Palace.
It lies in ruins.
Of all the places we visited in China, this was my favorite place. Our prescense there earned us many stares, as we were the only foriegners in a mostly Chinese crowd. While there, we saw only one other group of tourists.
Hauntingly beautiful, peaceful and undisturbed, this place will continue to inspire me for years to come. I especially enjoyed these black swans, which prompted me to write a short story about a woman at the Old Summer Palace.