An early start at 7 am saw us first on the Toyota van headed to The Great Wall. First an hour driving around town picking up the rest of the bus load and then a two hour trip in heavy traffic, gradually easing as we got further out of Beijing. We certainly didn’t go on a straight highway but rather wandered through tree lined back roads, around corners into more tree lined roads and on more highways then through villages and finally ended up at the Great Wall area known as Mutianyu.
We had traveled in tandem with a large bus load and the guide gathered us all around and read out “the rules”.
The wall is 5 klm long where we are allowed so walk as far as you wish inspecting all of the towers. Go where you like BUT be back at the restaurant at 1.20 for lunch and we leave at approximately 2.15.
So off we wandered (as Wombats do) looking up literally at the Wall some hundred meters above us (well so it appeared). There was absolutely NO WAY we would climb up that hillside!!!! But wait … help was at hand in the shape of a chairlift (Extra cost).
So up went the Wombats along with all the others, most only half our age and less.
We got onto the wall and walked about 80 meters to the watchtower and then looked at the steps up to the next watchtower. At this moment the “feet” put in their two bob’s worth and said “If you think we are taking you up there…. Think again!!!”. So we walked the opposite direction and after about 100 meters the feet again voiced the same opinion. So we contented ourselves with “our” piece of wall, took the photos below, shot some video which will be put on when we exit China (Not allowed in China).
Time to descend and the choices were, go down on the chairlift or toboggan down on a winding toboggan course. So we opted for the latter much to the apprehension of Mrs. Wombat.
I went first urging the girl on the toboggan in front of me to go faster. Reaching the bottom I waited with baited breath along with the attendant for Mrs. Wombat to come zooming down. Hmmmm better send out a search party. But eventually she came into view and “landed’ at the bottom. After being helped off she expressed her opinion of the ride. You will have to wait a while for the video to see what it was.
So we headed for the restaurant with almost two hours to wait. A nap in the Toyota helped pass the time and we headed into Mr. Yang’s restaurant with tables of eight. Lunch was really good, rice, sweet & sour chicken, egg & tomato, steamed vegetables, stir fried beef, and a couple of other dishes, I can’t remember.
Lunch over and it was already late, so time to head back to Beijing… BUT, there is always one!!!
One of the guests had failed to show for lunch and we ALL had to wait. After an hour we convinced our driver to head off as the missing person was on the large bus and not our problem. Once again we headed off down these funny roads.
Somewhere on the way back the driver (reasons unknown, as he did not speak one word of English) decided to turn off the highway and go through a village which had a gate and guard at one end of the street and the same at the other. Turning onto the small country road it became apparent he was lost as every road (dirt now) he turned into was blocked by drums across it. Finally in frustration he headed back through the village, (see video when added) and hit the highways again. Although yours truly got the “co-pilot’s” seat in the front I would never ever have been able to find my way there. It was the strangest trip I have seen. Turn left, turn right, head down narrow roads, get back on highways, filter onto other highways, go around ring roads, underpass, overpass, U-turn and go on other side of road and so on.
Anyway by this time it was late afternoon and the Beijing traffic was at its peak. Eventually around 5.30 we made it back to the hotel.. What a long day, almost 11 hours.
That night we simply walked to a Chinese restaurant just across the street and settled for sweet and sour pork, braised beef and rice and a couple of well-deserved beers.
Footnote: Although the restaurant had beer on the menu, beer in the fridge AND a draught beer tap in the middle of the restaurant the waitress had NOT got a clue what “Beer” was. When I went outside and pointed to a sign in the window saying “Beer” in English and Chinese a nice young Chinese guy jumped to our help and sorted her out. One has to wonder how long she had been working in the restaurant not to even know what a beer was. Plus the young guy had to explain what we wanted, even when we pointed to it on the picture menu. Hmmmmmmmmmm. As the girl at the hotel said “This is China!!”
Click on video to view. Click the [ ] icon bottom right to view full screen
The Great Wall area known as Mutianyu a couple of hours drive from Beijing. Great for the young and fit. A bit hard on “oldies”