Thursday 19 May
After a 13 hr overnight train ride from Xi’an we arrived in Beijing. I had an interrupted sleep and was tired like everyone else. After a taxi ride in peak hour traffic, an experience in itself, we arrived at our hotel. Unfortunately rooms aren’t ready (we have arrived well before check in) so we headed for brunch.
I’m a bit too tired for a big meal so got some delicious Portuguese egg tarts (from KFC who paid a huge amount for the recipe), a frappe from Starbucks, and a hot dog type pastry from Maxims. After a shower and short break we headed to our first attraction, Tiananmen Square.
It’s so huge and quite surreal! Absolutely amazing, it really is massive. Apparently over 1m people can fit here, though Beijing still has another 21m people in the city.
Most of us were really tired and hungry so we returned to the hotel and went to nearby restaurants. I found some place called Mr Lee and got braised beef in noodle soup, jellyfish, cabbage, sesame bun, and some drink which was kind of like hot chocolate but wasn’t. I was really hungry so enjoyed the food and saved the bun for tomorrow.
After sometime in the hotel and a quick shop, several of us went to the Acrobatics Show which was excellent. Some of the things they did were just unbelievable.
The last stunt had 5 motorcycle riders!
Friday 20 May
Really excited today to see The Great Wall of China. We’re at the Mutianyu section which is 5.4kms long but the actual wall is some 5000kms and can be seen from the moon. From the carpark, the wall is simply a spec in the distance.
You can choose to walk but I chose the easy option and took the cable car to the Great Wall of China. Plenty of steps still left to climb with the wall a spec in the distance.
It’s a long way to the top, if only I had more time I was keen to have a crack. Made it to the base of the very long set of steps. Why does my step counter not give me a premium for all the stairs I’m climbing? Hard work but worth it. Awesome sights.
I didn’t book the return cable car trip so it’s a long walk to the beginning towers before you can take the walkway down. Going down is relatively easy bar the steep steps in some sections. No hand rails here! Got my cardio workout for the day.
After returning to the hotel for a quick break we had an early dinner, our last together as a group, at a Peking Duck restaurant.
Spinach and mushroom mountain. The dish of the night apart from Peking Duck pancakes of course.
Chicken with spring onions and peanuts.
Crunchy lotus root
Pork and bean sprout filling for making pancakes.
Gorgeous Peking Duck
Glistening duck skin for making the duck pancakes.
Buns stuffed with duck.
Deep fried duck bones with spices. Some meat left and really tasty.
After that we went to the Red Theatre to watch a kung fu show.
Pretty good but not really to my taste. I much preferred the Acrobatics Show last night.
That ends my time in China, the land of the rising sun. I’ve had a wonderful time and will have to return sometime to see more. I look forward to leaving behind the polution though.
Excellent location as it’s close by Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Wangfujing Street, Donghuamen Night Market, 2 Metro Station Lines. Service was excellent, comfortable rooms and most staff spoke English.
Chongwenmen Hotel on TripAdvisor