As we left the hotel this morning, I saw the workers digging up the road and preparing cement...they were using shovels! No heavy machinery, just lots of workers and shovels...men and women digging up the road. Then, I saw this car, it was an Audi, that must have made a wrong turn in the driving rain storm last night and ended up in the open roadbed. China has such a split personality...it is amazing to me! On our walk to the KITPC, I also noticed something interesting...mountains! This was the first time that we could see them all week long. We were feeling really good about our upcoming trip to Badaling.See the trip: Beijing, China
2Teach's Sunday July 22nd, 2012
Woke up this morning to clearing skies and no sign of rain...was so happy since we were off to the Great Wall today! After breakfast, we went off to the institute and there was a breeze, the air was cleaner and clear...you could actually see mountains (never were able to see them before). Only one of our guides, the graduate student, was able to join us today and she was terrific! The other two were not feeling well after our adventures in the rain on Saturday. Off we went to the Great Wall!
On our way up we traveled into the mountains and caught glimpses of the Wall from a couple of locations, but we continued on to Badaling. We made it, along with a few thousand of our closest friends, and ended up taking a shuttle bus to the entrance. We had a quick lunch of noodles...hit the spot! And, off we went to the Wall...it was AMAZING!! I am not sure that the pictures will do it justice...I feel so very, very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit this landmark. We chose to go up the steeper section, since there appeared to be less people heading this way. Bob and I took off for the peak of the wall and the climb was tough! The stairs were uneven and portions were very steep...like, straight up steep! I was amazed at how many elderly, young children, and women dressed in heels were attempting the climb (reminded me of hiking Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire), but as we went higher the crowds thinned out. We actually made it to the top and then climbed down the other side and went to the end of the Wall. Okay, it was not the end, but it was the end of the Wall that you could walk. It was incredible...just incredible! I did not want to stop climbing, but people were tired and it was time to head back. We stopped in a shop and had a drink and then purchased some souvenirs. The lady followed me around with a fan asking me if I wanted something, haggling with me about the price, and fanning me...I was not a big "fan". But, that is the way things are done in China...so, we continued on with our new purchases and did a little more shopping before reaching the bus pickup spot. Well, needless to say...it was crazy! Traffic was ridiculous and the line for the bus was just as ridiculous! We decided to walk back to our van and we were so glad that we did! We made it back to the van before even one shuttle bus had made it down. Smiles all around...
We got back to Beijing and decided to have dinner in the restaurant where we have been eating breakfast...what a great idea! We actually had western meals...fish and chips and a couple of beers really hit the spot! This might be the first day when my stomach is not constantly doing flips!!
Tomorrow, it is back to the workshop and the students...what an amazing weekend!!!
We made it down all in one piece...what an amazing experience! Enough said...our graduate student/tour guide was wonderful! (I am terrible with names and can not remember her name, nor would I be able to spell it!) She took care of us...from ordering our meals for us, to getting the tickets, to just putting up with us...always smiling, always so nice...we truly did not deserve such a delightful person. She gave up her weekend to show us around...from getting soaked, to climbing the wall, to dealing with the shopkeepers for us, to helping us find our way...without her, we would have been a mess! And, thank you to our wonderful van driver...I do not know how he did it, but he was always there when we needed him and was masterful in dealing with Beijing traffic!See the trip: Beijing, China
I am not sure this picture really shows just how steep the climb is, but it is steep! Most of the people go in the other direction, since this side is so steep, but not me! Go where there are less people, now that is for me! It was nearly vertical at times...in some cases, there were stairs and in other it was just rock...and, up you went. Simple as that. Of course, I actually think the down was harder because you are so worried about slipping...you would not stop!See the trip: Beijing, China
Bob and I made it to the peak and looked out and noticed that we could keep on going, so keep on going we did! We climbed some more, walked some more, and just had a wonderful time...one word...priceless. When we made it to the end...that was it...you could not go any farther, simple as that. The rest of the wall had not been fixed up and there were many crumbling stones visible, but it was still great!See the trip: Beijing, China
An amazing view of the Wall...can you imagine how many people it took to build this?!?! As Bob and I climbed higher and higher, the number of people got fewer and fewer...but, still there were so many people trying to make it to the top...See the trip: Beijing, China
Just look at the Wall...words can not describe how big it is and just how many people are walking along the Wall. Tough to get a sense from the photos, but WOW! This is another item I need to learn more about...there was a museum there, but we did not have the time to enter it. So, I will rely on the internet to catch me up on my Wall history...I can only imagine how many people were involved in building it and then protecting it...what an amazing place!See the trip: Beijing, China