Today I visited the Great Wall. It was a bit of a slug to get there but really worth it.
Three became two right at the start of the day when Jordan decided to do the trip another day because he was not feeling too well.
When our mini bus arrived at 7:30am, half an hour late, I was ready for the trip with my breakfast of a Croissant, A pack of the Chinese version of Lemon puffs and an Apple and Banana. All of which was pretty much consumed in the first 30 minutes of the trip.
It took awhile for me to get comfortable on the mini bus and just as I did it stopped to transfer us to a bigger bus full of other people eager to get to the Great Wall. If anything I found this bus even more uncomfortable.
2 hours and I just managed to get myself relaxed and comfortable and just about ready to drop off when this bus pulled over to show us the Great Wall Cultural Center. When I say show that is what I mean. We literally just walked past it and the around it. There was hardly anything to see other than a stall of people trying to sell us water.
So back on the bus for 15 minutes to a car park below the wall and quick explanation of the days plan from a very assertive Chinese lady. She had the stature of a small 15 year old girl but, although friendly, the character of a warrior. Aaron and I concluded that we would not really want to upset her.
The day would go something like this. We could either follow her as she goes up the wall and get the history and all the info. She would share it in Mandarin then in English. We could also choose to hike up to the wall or go by Cable Car. Most of decided to go off on our own and hike up. The only stipulation was that we had to be back 3 hours later for lunch at 2:20pm and the bus would leave 40 minutes later if we were there or not.
Off we trekked. And boy was it a trekk. Really steep steps and hills and this was just to get to the wall. To add to this it was a hot sunny day. Half way up we were all sweating and it became clear I had not bought enough water. So when I finally reached the top of the steps prior to entering the wall I decided to buy a bottle of water. In my rush and tiredness I didn’t realise the lady had charged me £3 for a 500ml bottle of ice cold water. It still tasted amazing because I was sweating buckets, as the saying goes.
Once on the wall the views were tremendous. We had to decide if we wanted to turn right to explore the wall or left. Right would mean we could do a loop and back to where we started but turning left would mean going one way and then turning back the way we came. We chose left because it went up and the view would look amazing. Also at the top was the cable car and we decided we could always pay the £8 to come down on that if we were tired or wanted to explore the wall further.
There is not much I can say about the views except to look at the photos.
In the end we walked from Turret 10 to 17 and then turned back to Turret 14 to catch the Cable Car down and to dry off.
Those of you who have signed up to my eNewletter (you to can sign up on this page) would have got a sneak peak of the views because I emailed you a photo from the bottom of the Great Wall where for some reason there was WIFI.
Lunch was amazing and I realised I am become much more able with Chop Sticks now because my last few meals have only came with these. Lunch was a variety of Chinese dishes, quite a few vegetarian options too, in the middle of the table on a Lazy Susan which we all picked at.
Then it was back on the bus to Beijing. Nobody was, or dared to be, late for the trip back. It was as comfortable as before. The only twist this time was that once on the outskirts of Beijing we would not change to the mini bus because there was no minibus. The option we had were; we could stay on the bus through Beijing rush hour or get off and use the Metro stop by the bus. I could not bear the idea of sitting on the bus any longer so I took the subway option, where as Aaron chose to sleep on the bus back to the hostel, which he had done most of the trip there and back.
It was great trip along the wall, one I will remember for a long time.
As I was walking to the restaurant I saw the most amazing Centipede, I just had to take a photo and share it with you ;-).