Published: August 8th 2011August 7th 2011
So today we were up at 5.30am to go on our first trip of the tour, this one is what we have organised ourselves as the tour doesn't officially begin until tomorrow. Today we headed to a remote and unrestorted part of the Great Wall of China with two other girls on the tour. It was a three hour drive there which was why we were picked up so early, but it was completely worth the early start, complete with a FREE McDonalds breakfast (unlucky James, we went travelling for 10 months and never got a free McD's!).
The journey out there was uneventful, and on arrival we were directed to the cable cars up to the Wall, and what a sight it was! Miles and miles as far as the eye could see of this most beautiful landscape with the Wall cutting the mountains and valleys in half. We got an uninterupted 4 hours hiking the Wall on our own, along some very derilict parts of the Wall that were very steep. The area out by the Wall is more mountainous and therefore the air was clearer but it was still very foggy all day. It was very hot
though and both of us have got a little sunburnt unfortunately! We hiked 10km along the wall and were exhausted by the end. It really was hot and we were covered in sweat by the end but it had been so worthwhile as this section of the Wall really was amazing and in its original state. We will visit the Great Wall again this week but we go to the more touristy part so it was nice to see a quieter part before then. We were provided with a traditional Chinese lunch before we left to head back to Beijing, the food was amazing and it was great to really tuck into their cuisine (so much better than the Chinese we get down the road Mum and Dad!).
It took four hours to get back, the traffic around this area really is awful and does account for all the smog this city has. Eventually due to the sheer volume of traffic the bus driver made people get off and use the subway as it was quicker but lucky for us he paid for us to hop in a cab and we got a free (and far quicker) ride home. On arrival we were greeted with the rest of the tour group who had all arrived today, tired and groggy from their long haul flights. A few of us tried to go out for a drink but unfortunately we are in a very upmarket area of town not really suited for travellers and we couldn't really afford the prices. We ended up just going to the supermarket to grab some drinks and coming back to the hostel to play cards with some of the girls.
Tomorrow, we are officially starting our tour of China and we begin to navigate this city as a group...