IT'S LYNNY KANSAS
DON'T LET THE RUBY SLIPPERS,
OR THE DOROTHY INSPIRED NICKNAME
FOOL YOU., THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME,
BUT TRAVELING IS FUN.
Pretty impressive if I do say so myself!! Of my short 4 day trip to Beijing, the one and a half hour ride to the Mutianyu section of The Great Wall was, for me, the highlight. It felt pretty surreal to think I was standing in China on this amazing piece of history, one of the "new, Seven Wonders of The World"! This section of the wall was built in 1569 and has 22 watchtowers along it's 2,250m stretch.
There are a number of sections of wall accessible within a few hours drive of Beijing. We chose to go to the Mutianyu section as we were told it would be slightly less crowded. Once there, we took a cable car up to one section of the wall and then we walked along the wall, for about an hour to get a cable car back down. It was interesting walking along the wall, traversing shallow steps up, then down, and walking through the watchtowers. Some sections had quite uneven steps both up and down. It was quite overcast whilst we were there but still the views were incredible! Certainly an amazing piece of architecture and I was super thrilled to have been able to do it. For more pictures of Beijing and The Great Wall, click here.
The reason for the trip to Beijing was to "trail" my husband who was attending a Conference with his work. The "trailing spouses" were taken on a few guided tours which was a nice treat. First up was the Forbidden City. Honestly, as I sit here typing this I find it really quite amazing to think I was actually there! I am one lucky lady.
After touring the Forbidden City we were treated to an amazing (huge, the food kept coming and coming) lunch at a restaurant specializing in Peking Duck. The Bian Yi Fang Roast Duck Restaurant was established in 1416. Fortunately, our traditional Menlu roast duck was not quite that old! Beijing roast duck can be cooked one of two ways, Menlu roast duck is cooked in a closed oven, Gualu roast duck is cooked in an open oven. The duck was carved and served tableside and we were shown how to assemble the duck pancakes by spreading the hoisin sauce on the pancake, adding the scallions and then the duck which was delicious (see video below).
After lunch we were taken to Wangfujing Shopping Street. Our group was a little bit dissappointed here as this area, close to Tian'an Men Square was a brand new shopping area with a bit of a flat feel to it. The old shophouses and tenements of this area had been torn down and in their place was this wide avenue with it's designer brand stores. Smaller streets behind had the usual souvenir stores but also numerous stores selling silk, fabrics and teas, of which there were so many varieties it blew my mind!
The first few days I was in Beijing the sky was unusually clear and we had blue sky. After that it returned to it's normal slate grey smog induced color. We stayed at The China World Hotel which was pretty close to the major attractions. It still took so long to get anywhere though as the traffic was horrendously busy. The number of cars has increased dramatically in Beijing as the Country begins to open up and more people can afford to buy cars. The driving was appalling and pedestrians were given no right of way at all by drivers so crossing the road was a challenge.
All in all it was a very interesting trip and I am so thankful at getting the opportunity to go and experience it.