Beijing Day 1 (Sunday) – The Great Wall, Ming Tombs

Touchdown! Beijing airport is huge. We got off the plane, walked, walked, then walked until the customs, crossed, then took an escalator to take a 6 minute rain ride, then walked, walked and walked some more, collected our luggage, reported the handle of one of our luggage pieces missing, walked yet more and were finally greeted by our relatives. Then it’s more walking, with a couple of escalators, into t2-Great Wall crowdhe large car park, with yet more walking…

You get the idea.

After unpacking (not too difficult), we set off to 八达岭长城 (Badaling Great Wall) by car  (小型轿车). About 40 min later, we arrived, bought our tickets and took a long walk. The easy breathing and relaxed walking technique learnt in Nepal served us well here.

As it was my second time here, the sense of awe, while still present, was slightly muted. Unfortunately, the poor air quality hampered the view somewhat. Nonetheless, we battled our way through the crowds and climbed as high as we could. As Chairman Mao said, “不到长城非好汉”, so I guess that makes us good men, good men indeed.

Tip: Wear comfortable quick-dry clothes like what you’d wear for hiking/trekking. I was surprised to find myself busting out the ol’ trekking gear for what’s essentially an easy holiday, but really, climbing 300m of stairs on the great wall or in mountains is the same thing.

3-juyongguanAfter that bracing workout, it was time for a quick visit to the Ming tombs – 十三陵. Previously, I had visited one of the tombs, with its dank, dark interior and equally dark history, but this time we just walked along the main areas outside.

We had seen an introduction to 居庸关 (Juyongguan), 天下第一雄关, on television, so a visit there was natural. In retrospect, the ideal journey should have been to stop by this place first before heading to八达岭长城 followed by a visit to the Ming tombs, hey, whatever works.

4-climbing up juyongguan The legs were a little fatigued, but the steep uphill stair climb was still no match for our enthusiasm. That said, the rest of the family was tired, so we took in the breathtaking scenery (though more likely it was the climb that took our breath away) and were soon on our way back home.

In a fit of madness, we stopped at the 全聚德 (Quanjude) Beijing roast duck outlet in昌平 (Changping) which was a complete piece of crap. Don’t. It’s an insult to the全聚德 brand, not that it’s fantastic to begin with.


One response to this post.

  1. Hey…. quan ju de is not bad wat… freakin expensive too! Did u have the duck tongue soup? I ate the duck hearts there too… it had 4 chambers =p


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