Today was awesome Dad!
The Great Wall of China is one of the most amazing sites I have ever seen. You would have loved it! – but your knees wouldn’t have…
It was about an hour and a halfs drive to Mutianyu, the area of the wall we were visiting. From there we took a ski lift type affair to the wall. I learnt mum had never been on a ski lift, so watching her try to get on and off it was amusing.
The wall is just something else, I have never seen anything like it! To really top it off we were practically the only ones there! We walked along the wall and to say bits were steep would be an understatement. Some steps came up past my knees! Our step counters say we have climbed over 100 floors on the wall, and we believe them!
Mum was glad I had her in training for the past few months ‘frog marching’ her up the hills at home. She wished she took my advice on walking up and down Monks Steps though. The wall also seemed to change at every watch tower, with some bits being restored and some still the original stone.
Getting down from the wall was amusing too, we took the toboggon! There is a toboggon run which snakes down the side of the mountain, after a 20 second safety demonstration ‘go, brake, no stop’ we were off. Somehow my toboggon did not move particularly quickly, but mum’s seemed to fly! Not that it mattered because we both got stuck behind a woman going extremely slowly. I did manage to get the run on film though! I will try and upload it when the internet is not restricted.
After the wall we headed back into Beijing to the Summer Palace. It again was beautiful and Kevin was great at telling us about the history. Without him we really would have no idea what we would be looking at, or know the historical stories behind it all.
We asked Kevin at the beginning of the week if we could go and see the birds nest. I couldn’t come to Beijing and not see the Olympic stadium! He said no problem and asked the driver to make a detour on the way home. The stadium is more spectacular in real life. We didn’t have time to go in and look around, but we walked around the surrounding areas. Turns out even the location of the stadium is with purpose. It sits on what they call ‘the dragon line’. If you follow that striaght line carved in stone from the stadium, it will take you right through to the Forbidden City.
One of the strangest parts of the day however…… People stopping and staring at us. I knew we looked ridiculous in all our thermals and layers, but even so the looks were weird. Kids with their open gaping mouths and adults looking shell shocked, odd. Then people were asking for photos with us. This seemed even more odd. One woman even asked mum to wear her hat for a photo. Kevin explained that people from the farming communities from China had probably never seen foreigners, apart from on TV. They were taking photos to take back to their home towns as if to say ‘look, a real life foreigner’. The funniest ones were people trying to take inconspicuous selfies with us in the background., Did they really think I wouldn’t notice?!
Mum wanted to try a traditional Chinese Peking Duck meal, so Kevin advised on the best place to go. Surprisingly it was similar to how we would have it at home, apart from the fact the chef came out with the duck on a chopping board and carved the duck right in front of you. Then presented it on a plate with a china duck’s head sticking out of it.
It was only a short walk back to the hotel, right past a bakery. We couldn’t walk past without ordering dessert.
Well we are off to Xi-an tomorrow on the bullet train, and we still have half a bottle of prosecco left to finish. Our feet and backs are killing us, and we are exhausted.
Time to pack! X