What an awesome amazing day! Wow!
After stopping by a jade factory, we made our way out of central Beijing and into the mountains to visit the Great Wall. Before we even got there, we could see the Wall in the distance, snaking its way around the mountains. Standing at the base of the Wall, it seemed like a very long way to the top, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so off we went.
I’ve seen pictures of the Great Wall on TV, in books and in pictures taken by others, but seeing it in person is a whole different experience. I don’t think I had an appreciation for the sheer steepness of the wall. It truly is a climb! Some individual steps were over a foot high!
Bruce made it nearly to the top. I decided to save my knees and stop, but only after reaching the stand that issues “hero cards,” a credit card-type thing with your picture in front of the Wall, the date and the words, “I climbed the Great Wall.”
Lunch was served at an eatery attached to a cloisonné factory. It appeared to be a place that caters to hungry tour groups who have just climbed the wall.
We then walked through the Sacred Way in the Ming Tombs. The statuary was very interesting and again I was struck with the surreal feeling of stepping into a photo I’ve only seen in a book.
Our trip back to the hotel wound through the suburbs of Beijing, including a drive by the Olympic Stadium. It will be neat to recognize the places we’ve seen when the Olympics begin in August.
For dinner a group of us struck out on our own in search of Peking duck, the local specialty of Beijing. About halfway down Walking Street, we found a restaurant that specialized in Peking duck. Another amazing experience.
We move on to Tianjin tomorrow, but we will take with us the friendships we have built with the other families heading to other provinces. It has been so neat to meet the friends I’ve only “met” online. We can’t wait to meet up with them in Guangzhou and to see them with their new children. Many thanks to CCAI and our guide Lisa for providing an outstanding experience in Beijing.