Charlotte Read (New Zealand) and Alejandro Roa Valencia (Colombia) have two daughters: 2-year-old Chloe and 6-month-old Julian. The Roa Read family has been living in Beijing since June 2013. Their favorite park is Honglinjin next to East Fourth Ring Road; they go there at least four times a week during both summer and winter. Read says she discovered the park just by walking around their neighborhood. “I saw the lake from the Fourth Ring Road and hoped there would be a path around it,” she says. “I was delighted to discover that, unlike Chaoyang Park, it’s free to enter.”
When the trees around the lake are blossoming, they’re just exquisite – in all shades of pink, from deep crimson to pale pink. The gardens are beautifully cared for and always very clean. The size of the park is perfect for exercise; when I have a short amount of time, one lap is great. When I’m feeling more energetic, two is a great workout.
We love the swinging seats, but they are so popular it’s rare to find one unoccupied. The park’s overall cleanliness is very good; the toilets are in great condition. There is also a small amusement park.
Our daughter loves the stone hippopotamuses as well as the caterpillar she can run through. We also like it that there are so many groups of people enjoying the park: opera singers, groups ballroom dancers, tai chi [practitioners], marchers. There is always something fun to observe.
Recommended Restaurants and Cafes
We love to go to Jamaica Blue in Park Avenue after a walk around the park, but Napa has just opened with amazing organic food.
This past winter, when the lake was frozen, I took my daughter on one of those chairs with skates with metal poles to propel yourself. She sat on my knee and we had fun zooming around on the ice. But there is no friction whatsoever, so it’s very difficult to stop. I wasn’t very good at steering to start with and we kept crashing into everyone when we got too much speed – really fun.
Then in the summer, the whole family renting a boat is a wonderful pastime. Some boats have a gun; you can aim at a target and a siren goes off when you get a direct hit. Great fun!
This article originally appeared on page 46 of the 2016 June-July Issue of beijingkids magazine. Click here for your free online copy. To find out how you can obtain a hard copy, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Uni You