A good time at The Great Wall…

..You could just as easily say, “A great time at the ‘good wall’,” too. It is a good wall, as walls go and it’s certainly greater than the wall Donald Trump will never build. It’s also true that once you’ve seen it, you probably won’t feel the need to see it again anytime soon. I certainly won’t be in any big hurry. “Been there, done that.” By the way, despite its length:13,170 miles long, contrary to urban legend, it cannot be seen from space with the naked eye, much less from the Moon.

We hired a private tour guide and a driver for the morning of October 25 to take us to a part of the wall known as Mutianyu (listed by Trip Advisor as the number “#1 of 1598 things to do in Beijing”), outside Beijing as the part of the wall near Beijing is swamped with tourists. Not surprisingly when we arrived, we ran into all of the other tourists who came to this part of the wall to avoid all of the tourists at the Beijing part of the wall. Note the photos of Michelle Obama and her kids as they rode the tobaggan down from the top of the Mutianyu section of the wall. We had no idea of this way down until we got there. It really is an amazing ride down.

It wasn’t terribly crowded, being a Tuesday and best of all, the air was fairly clear, as we were outside of Beijing. One funny note: Linda, our tour guide thought Sophie was twelve years old (chuckle!) something she didn’t find amusing although it did become somewhat of a running joke for the rest of our travels, thanks to you know who. From the parking lot, you take a cable-car up to the wall. You then have the option of taking the cable-car down or the previously mentioned tobaggan. That’s not a choice, in my opinion, as you’ll see.

It’s somewhat axiomatic that after walking along the wall for a ways, what you experience becomes very redundant. The views in the distance change somewhat but its hardly compelling. After about one hour, we were done. The best part of the experience, was taking the tobaggan down. When we got to the bottom, Sophie proclaimed that she wanted to spend the rest of the day going up just to take the tobaggan down; who can blame her? Ironically, we did get another tobaggan ride in Guilin a few days later, but she was not feeling well and the ride down was more of a endurance for her, than a fun ride.

That night, Sophie wanted to cook dinner despite my Playskool sized kitchen. She cooked up polenta and veggies. I invited Madison to join us too. It would be the last low-calorie meal we would have for some period of time. The next morning we flew to Xi’an. The Terracotta Warriors have been awaiting our arrival for over 2250 years; we didn’t want to keep them, any longer.

 

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The cable-car ride to the Wall.

The cable-car ride to the Wall.

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The tobaggon ride down.

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OK, I admit it; I am enamoured with selfies. Something, by the way, that Sophie was completely dismissive of until they proved their worth to her.

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