.............not all those that wander are lost..............

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Great Wall .........

{The Howard Johnson Paragon Hotel, Beijing - the lobby}

We were quite pleased with our hotel in Beijing. There were a few complications when we tried the lift but that was soon sorted out (had to use our room card to make it go up to our floor - doh!) and we had a great view of the roof tops.

One small peculiarity was a glass wall (usually called a 'window') between the bathroom and the main room. There was a venetian blind to drop so you could get privacy - but the mind boggles as to why it wasn't just an ordinary wall!

We dumped our bags, quickly unpacked, then went out for our first exploration of the area.  The first thing we found was that the hotel complex included a shopping centre. It was a bit like a cross between a department store and an undercover market, with stalls. On the lower ground floor there were dozens of booths selling all sorts of food, either to eat there or take away.

{Take your pick!}

Eventually we chose a bigger, more traditional restaurant on the ground floor. I even managed to choose a few vegetarian options, but only by scrutinising the photographs closely. When the food came it was excellent. The best was a dish of crisp rolled lettuce with a peanut dip - yum!

{Our taxi and driver}

After breakfast the next morning Helen arrived in the taxi to collect us for the day's sightseeing. The highlight of the day had to be our trip to see the Great Wall. I enjoyed this but it wasn't really as I was expecting it to be. We visited the Badaling part of it which is about an hour's drive from the city.

A hair-raising journey on the motorway brought us out into real countryside with hills and limestone rocks. In contrast to Shanghai, very few of the road signs were in English which made it a real 'magical mystery tour'.

{Badaling ticket office}

Access to the Wall was by a small cable car such as you find at ski resorts.



Once off the lift we went through a dark concrete tunnel and then into the open.


{Finally............}

It was much more crowded than I imagined it would be. Underfoot it was flagged stone, but exceedingly steep, often with very irregular steps. All these things made it quite hard going. The views were spectacular but I longed to go to a less busy part of the Wall to walk on it more comfortably. I'm putting that on the list for our next trip to China!

{Smile!.............}


{The view from the top}

Once back in the taxi we were whisked to lunch - a serve yourself buffet obviously laid on specially for bus trippers, a visit to the Cloisonne factory beneath it, a museum of artefacts at the Ming dynasty tombs, a jade factory and finally, to the 'famous Peking Duck' restaurant for dinner. Or in my case, not Duck but tofu ('doufou') - which was quite tasty.


{One of the Ming Emperors - I don't remember which one...}

{The entrance to the Peking Duck restaurant}


{John posing with the Duck!}

1 comment:

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