On Friday I want to the Great Wall of China. I booked a tour…didn’t realize it was a big bus tour but oh well. The traffic in Beijing is a thing and it’s real. There are after all 22,000,000 people who live here! The tour was also of the Ming Tombs, but what I didn’t know was that there were two tourist stops, at a silk factory and at a jade factory. I would recommend taking a train to the area or a taxi…preferably a train then a taxi, to avoid most traffic. (#1 of things I learned on Friday).
Anyway, the Ming Tombs were interesting…massive structures for dead rulers and his family & concubines out in the foothills. It looked like the Forbidden City a lot only smaller. The dragons on the roof represent children…the offspring of the dragon man and phoenix woman…many baby dragons = wealth.
We got caught in a traffic jam going to the Great Wall (too much time at the jade factory!). But it meant we would arrive in the late afternoon and the sun was still out so the light was perfect. We had two hours there to walk around and it was quite nice. The wall is immense, and if I am ever in Beijing again I’d like to try hiking a different part. It’s about 800 meters (a little under 900 yards) above ground level. There were a lot of people huffing and puffing their way up. I was just slow because of photo taking! The views were fantastic, it was a very clear day and the wall is really immense, and impressive, though it’s so remote and near the mountains, I think the terrain alone would have helped keep the Mongolians away from the Ming Dynasty.
On the way back to town we passed by the Olympic “birdcage” and “ice cube” which housed the opening ceremonies and water sports respectively. They are modern and beautiful, especially when lit.