Friday, April 12, 2013

Great Wall visit

What a beautiful day to visit the great wall with temperatures in the 70's, and a light breeze which made it perfect for climbing the steeper parts!  Eight years ago we visited the wall at a spot closer in to town, and while it was still way cool, this one was better.  First off, the weather conditions today sure beat the 30 degree temps we experienced on our way to get Cassy.  Secondly, this was further out and slightly less touristy.  To start, we took a ski-lift partially up into the mountains, breathing in the crisp cool air and soaking in the scenery and sun.  From there we began making the climb from tower to tower, stopping in each one to take pictures and revel in the views.  Amazing to think we were standing on a piece of history about 2,000 years old!  I'll save some of the description for Martha and the girls.

Thanks for all the prayers, they're appreciated more than you can imagine!  Three more sleeps until we see Samuel!

~ Matthew

The mountains were so beautiful.  Unlike the North American Rockies, the peaks are very jagged.  Just look different.  The Chinese lettering on this mountain says, "Follow Mao." 

Here we are on the Great Wall. 
I'm thinking this might show a little of the steepness of the climb/descent on the wall.  One thing that makes it hard to walk is that the angles are steep and the steps are uneven in height.  You sure have to concentrate on the height of each step.  It looks about like this between each tower - steep downgrade then back up.  About halfway into this trek, I was kicking myself for not doing a little "gonna climb the Great Wall" training regimen before we came.  My leg muscles were literally shaking by the time we got back to where we started.
This is the view out of our hotel window.  I had forgotten the busy hustle bustle of this city.  Walking on the sidewalk or crossing the street is completely crazy.  You can get run over by bicycles, scooters, or even cars wherever you are it seems.  We listen to car horns honking constantly.  Sure reminds me how much I love the slower pace of good old Oklahoma.
Below is the funny sign of the day.  I hope you can read it.  The Chinese translations into English crack me up.  I wonder if English translations into Chinese are so bad.  The section of the wall that we visited had the option of going down from one of the towers riding a taboggan down a stainless steel plume.  We chose to take the ski lift chairs back down, but it did look like fun.
We had lunch at a restaurant called The Schoolhouse after our visit to the wall.  It was a tourist place, good food, high prices (they DID have a COLD Diet Coke, which made me happy.) Dinner was at a Chinese restaurant across from our hotel.  Really good fried rice and we all ate for about $10.  We will probably go see them again tomorrow night.
We are all pretty wiped out and headed back to the hotel tonight.  Tomorrow, we visit the Forbidden City, Tiannamen Square, and the Summer Palace.  Lots of walking, but not so steep :)
Good night all!

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