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Published: October 8th 2011
For our final day ‘in Beijing’ we headed off with a van load of other tourists (mostly Colombian for some reason) to the Great Wall at Mutianyu. Once we got about an hour out of the city we began to catch glimpses of the wall snaking its way along the tops of the mountains in the distance. At first it looks like a road or as if your eyes are playing tricks on you, but as you get closer to the mountains there is no mistaking that it is the wall. Mutianyu is slightly further from Beijing than Badaling, the more popular section of the wall, and as a result we pretty much had the place to ourselves when we first arrived. We caught the cable car up to the wall, climbed up some stairs and all of a sudden we were standing on top of a fantastically restored section of the wall.
The section of wall at Mutianyu is about three kilometres long. We headed straight off and began the steep ascent towards the Eastern end of the restored section of wall. Fortunately our legs had mostly recovered from the pavement damage in Beijing as some sections of the
wall are very hard going. The steps are unevenly spaced, sloping and very steep in places! We made it to the Easternmost restored guard post before everyone else which meant that we had it all to ourselves for quite a while. Further towards the east from this guard post the condition of the wall deteriorates quite significantly. It becomes overgrown and sections have entirely collapsed and disappeared. This disrepair was actually quite beautiful, and I think it’s great that they have reconstructed some sections but not others. It allows you to see what it would have been like at the time as well as how it’s withstood the test of time. The scenery around the great wall is absolutely spectacular. The mountains are unbelievably steep and it makes you wonder why they even needed to build the wall at all – surely the mountains would have been a good enough barrier!
From the Eastern guard post we made our way almost to the end of the restored section in the West. We spent about three hours up on the wall in total which gave us enough time to appreciate it and to wish that they had had a spirit
level during the construction! We eventually made our way back along the wall to the toboggan ride which takes you back down to the carpark. The toboggan ride was heaps of fun, though next time Bianca would need to put on some more weight (or stuff a small child in her backpack) as the ride was not particularly quick even though she didn’t use the brake at all!
Lunch was possibly the best meal we have ever had on a tour – about 10 different Chinese dishes (including a number of vegetarian ones which was a relief) with plenty of rice and drinks (included! Wow!).
For our last night in Beijing we set out towards Wangfujing Road, which is one of the most famous food streets in Beijing which specialises in weird food on sticks. As we came out of the subway and tried to orient ourselves, a Chinese man stopped us and asked where we were headed (in English!). We ended up talking and him and his friend (no English) convinced us to join them for dinner at Ghost Street, which is one of the busiest restaurant streets in Beijing. We has an odd meal in a
HUGE restaurant which looked like a Hutong. We had a veggie dish, something beef (?) and hot pot with just about every part of an animal in it.
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