Beijing, the Great Wall
Oct 28, 2017
|As I am writing this some months later, I will just cover all the things we did, and places we visited, as I cannot guarantee that I will get them in order!!
Our first day, after a brief sleep, was to the Summer Palace, where we spent a couple of hours wandering that large complex including the huge man-made lake, that in winter, freezes over.
Then it was to Tiananmen Square - and it was freezing cold as there was a strong wind blowing. Most of us were aware it would be cool, but were unprepared for the bitterness!! Luckily Dee had a jacket of Graeme's in her bag, which she insisted I wore as she was wearing a cardigan, but we all felt the cold that day.
Tiananmen Square was in my bucket list, so it was amazing to actually be there.
We then went in to the Forbidden City, and we were just blown away at the opulence of it, despite it being so old, and all the buildings are of wood. Marble is everywhere and just the sheer size of the Palace could not be taken in whilst walking through some areas - have since seen a documentary on it, and I think we saw about 2% of it!!
We had dinners on the road each evening, as the hotel was quite a way out of the city, and with 22 million people, getting anywhere takes some time on the road.
Biggest thrill was our visit to a section of the Great Wall where we could climb from a 400metre section or onwards up 3 more sections to complete the 2.2 km climb. It was very steep, and the ascent steps were very uneven, ranging from maybe 8cm high to about 40 cms high, in no particular order! Pete and Ella waitied for me to finally make it to Fortress No 8, having battled up the steep 440 metres. That was enough for us, as navigating downwards with the crowd was possibly even more scary!! Dee went on and did the 4.4km round climb - and was exhausted but exhilarated at having done it.
We visited a Jade factory, the Ming Tomb complex and visited the oldest section of town, the Hutong area, where we did a pedicab ride through the old area. Dee became ill, so we Ubered back to the hotel while Pete and Ella went to a Kung Fu Optional excursion.
After 3 very full days, we then travelled to Shanghai by Bullet train, taking about 3.5 hours for the 1150 km trip! Very comfortable and lunch provided along the way.
First stop was at the Museum, where Pete went with some of the group, and we headed off to find a coffee, having missed out on our usual morning one. Also found an atm then back to the bus. Had a walk along the famous Bund, seeing the daytime sights of the city - the following evening we went on a ferry ride, along with seemingly thousands of chinese, to see those sights by night!!
Visits here, were to a Silk factory and a ride on the 30km long Maglift train, which covered that distance in just under 7 minutes, reaching a top speed of 460km!!
Again, we ate out each evening - and by the end of the 5 days, having had Chinese food for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, we were actually looking forward to Aussie food!!!
Finally the time to return to Perth - another long stop over in China, this time in Gungzhou, before leaving for Melbourne, and arriving around 9am.
We had booked rooms at the F1 Formula Motel - booked in then tiredly headed into the City, as we had booked an Edge Experience for Dee and Ella's Birthdays.
We were all more than tired after that, so back to Tullamarine and finally bed....slept like logs, walked to the terminal for our homeward journey, drove them home and came on ourselves.
We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, though what is advertised as an 8 day Tour, is only 5 days in total on Chinese soil - the other days are getting to and from!! So, very tiring, but we did enjoy our first experience in China, together. This trip was for Pete's 70th and Dee's 40th Birthdays, as well as belatedly celebrating Ella's 13th.