After a good night’s sleep and a tasty breakfast this morning, we were ready to conquer the Great Wall. Our hotel had arranged a car and driver to take us to the wall and he was ready, waiting for us at 9.30. The Great Wall is pretty big (duh!) so there are many different sections you can visit. We had decided to go to the part at Mutianyu at 90 minutes drive from the centre of Beijing.
We were really lucky with the weather. It is quite cold, about -11°, but the sky was incredibly clear and blue. We bought tickets for the cable car up to the wall and then walked along as far as we could. The wall was unusually quiet today; I understand that sometimes it is unbearably busy. This was due to the Spring Festival. Many Beijingers come from outside the city so have gone home to be with their families. Most of the other people we saw along the wall were other foreigners.
About half way along we met a woman selling drinks and snacks. On our way back we were glad of a cup of tea to warm us up. She was a funny character, insisting she take our photo wearing a Chairman Mao style cap. She told us she was from Mongolia and her husband had set off to walk home for the new year.
The walk along the wall was really enjoyable, but quite hard going. The steps are steep in places and so difficult for those of us with short legs. The view was well worth it, though. So was the feeling of standing on one of the wonders of the world.
In order to get down from the wall, we decided to take a toboggan run. I wasn’t sure about it, but John persuaded me and it was actually really exciting, or at least not as terrifying as I thought it would be.
We are now back at the hotel, with tired legs, but looking forward to visiting Tienanmen Square tomorrow. Tomorrow evening, is a New Years Eve party at the hotel and we should be able to watch the fireworks from the roof terrace. Can’t wait!