On Saturday 18th October we climbed the great wall of China.
We were fortunate enough to go to an area of the wall not packed with tourists which made a massive difference – it was peaceful and tranquil and we watched the sunset behind the mountains.
The next morning at 5am we dragged ourselves out of bed to climb it all again for a chance to watch the sunrise. There was a 80% chance of cloud which would result in us not seeing anything. But we took the risk…
That morning it was cloudy. So sadly we didn’t see anything but the scenery looked fantastic, although everyone was exhausted!
Annoyingly I spent the majority of the walk leaning over the side of the great wall as I felt like I was going to throw up. Not that I was ill, I think my body went into shock mode that 1. I had woken up early (when I had the option not to) and 2. I had woken up and done exercise. I really need to get in better shape and drink less beer!
Following this we finally checked into our hostel back in Beijing and I was looking forward to seeing the Capital city. At this point I realised I left my portable charger at the Leo hostel we stayed at next to the great wall – the staff there claimed not to be able to find it. 😦
That day we visited The Forbidden City but all of us were very very tired. I didn’t know what to expect from this tourist attraction but it’s hardly ‘forbidden’ from the high amount of tourists. And it’s not even a city, just their old emporer’s huge house. I’m sure people who know the history of this will want to slap me but I felt like it was a waste of a trip, especially as I’d seen so many amazing temples around China that this just didn’t cut it for me.
That evening for dinner we wondered off the touristy roads to the local streets for a cheap dinner recommended to us by our guide. Ordering off a Chinese food can be a lot of fun, especially when you’re ordering off a Chinese menu with no translations. We pointed to what we thought was beef… it was liver. The other table pointed to what they thought was pork and it was cow intestines. We’re quite easy going though so it was no bother to us! The food was once again delicious. Also the breakfast we had in Beijing was probably my most memorable – it was a type of pizza (4 layers of pizza dough with a chilli sauce, sesame seeda and chives) which is apparently a traditional Beijing breakfast. It sounds bizarre and not your standard breakfast but it was sooo good. Again this was off the tourist road so it was local prices – 40p and you got enough to last through to lunch. You could also get egg buns and doughnuts (10p).
The following day we went to the fake goods market. Now this was fun, I do love to haggle!! The best deal of the day was won by Tom haggling down ‘Nike’ Trainers from £80 to £6 – he would have paid £10 but it just goes to show how much further they are willing to go. At this market there were lots of handbags, scarves, electrical goods etc. With the lack of space in my bag I settled for a childs Hello Kitty watch (£1) and a Pashmina scarf (£2). Happy times.
Later that day we visited the Olympic Park where we saw the stadium which was a shadow of what it was in 2008. The smog completely took over and it just looked sad!
After all the amazing cities around China I expected Beijing to be the best, the most vibrant, the most diverse and inspiring. It was none of the above for me personally.
Beijing was probably my least favourite city so far. It just didn’t have much to it – however we were only there 2 days so we didn’t see very much, but it felt very soulless and man-made. Some areas
felt like an unfinished Disney Land attraction. Also the air is vile and you can’t see the sun clearly through the smog – it’s so polluted that I was tempted to buy a face mask. With that said, I didn’t hate the city, it was just disappointing. Sorry Beijing! However these guys appear to love Beijing so that’s all that counts.