Days 190, 191

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Oops… accidentally doubled up on day 189 post, here’s day 190 plus 191…

Day 190… the Great Wall!
Today is a big day of travelling so we grab some snacks for the journey. Then we transfer to the railway station and board the high speed train (approx 6 hours) to Xi’an, watching the landscape change from industrialised cities and urban sprawl to farmland and villages on the way. On arrival in Beijing meet our private vehicle to take us out into the countryside to the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall where we will spend the night in a family run village guesthouse. The facilities are actually quite good… better than most hotels in have stayed at ALL YEAR, and they have great local hospitality and a welcome night sleeping out in the fresh countryside air! Dinner is included here and a great chance to sample local produce and delicious home style cooking. After which we all stay up arm few hours learning to play mahjong the proper way. Great fun!

Day 191… The next morning we transfer to the Great Wall itself (Gubeikou section) for our trek of around 4 hours. An incredible piece of engineering, the wall stretches 6,000 km westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect Chinese empires from the ‘barbarians’ of the north and even though it failed in this purpose, it’s still without a doubt one of the country’s most remarkable achievements, and an iconic destination.
A few Mongolian older lady guides join us for the trek to essentially sell us stuff at the end… but they are lovely and friendly and helpful, so that’s fine. Some parts of the wall are unrestored so we need to concentrate to keep our footing. One girl has asthma and another a rare but manageable health issues where she takes medication to keep the electrons sending messages to her limbs, but she is very unsteady… so I hang back and ensure they are fine, assisting with an arm to hold when needed. There are many steps and slopes on the way so we need to be prepared for a tough climb in sections. The views and experience though are a real highlight and just jaw droppingly stunning so totally worth it. I actually find that I am fitter than I thought, which is nice.
Then we bus it back to Beijing and have a quick check in and snack before seeing the fantastic “The Legend of Kung Fu” show. It is said to be a must-see production in Beijing for Kung Fu lovers, but as a show I thought it was a little *yawn* in parts. Overall quite cool… but had a little too much show, not enough Kung fu. But that’s me. After some late noodles, sleep beckons

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