We played hangman on the steamed up windows of the long bus journey to the Great Wall and the theme was Beijing. The first word we had to guess was “Cold” and that pretty much sums up Beijing in a nutshell. Absolutely freezing – or to be precise below freezing at -6.
We had another overnight train from Luoyang to Beijing which pulled into a rather frosty but surprisingly Un-Smoggy Beijing at 5.30am. After we angered many locals doing their morning commute by getting on the public bus, 18 people plus 18 huge bags, we arrived at our hotel.
The rooms weren’t ready so we had a quick turnaround and out to the Forbidden City which was just around the corner. Though it had been chilly when we arrived I put that down mainly to it being early and assumed that with a hat and gloves I would be fine.
The Forbidden City didn’t disappoint it was every bit as stunning as I expected it to be, however, I couldn’t take many pictures as taking my hands out of the gloves was a treacherous challenge.
It got so bitterly cold that I had to go and sit in a cafe for an hour to warm up as my hands and toes were so white and painful.
In the afternoon we were taken on a rickshaw ride through the old quarter of Beijing and then to one of the strangest experiences of my life. Cricket Fighting. Although Crickets don’t fight in Winter. We were taken to a random mans house to meet this old man who was famous for his crickets – he had quite a few screws loose, he even kept his crickets down his jumper!!
The next day I was determined not to get cold so layered up. 2 pairs of socks and 5 tops later I was ready to go. One guy in our group was more prepared with his 3 pairs of trousers on!
We went out of the city to the Summer Palace, the home of dragon boat racing, but the lake was frozen so we couldn’t do that. Next it was to Tiananmen Square. In our history lessons we are taught about the protests in 1989 which ended up as massacre of the protesting students, however, in the Chinese text books it never happened. Our guide refused to admit that it ever happened.
Yesterday, we did what I was most looking forward to. THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA!!
It was every bit as spectacular as I’d hoped it would have been. We got a cable car up to the wall and walked all along the renovated part and then jumped over the wall to walk along the old sections too. It was unbelievable!
Another perk was that I finally got warm and managed to strip down to my bottom layers! To get back to the car park you can walk, cable car or toboggan, so of course I went on the 7 minute toboggan down the mountainside it was incredible!!
I’m over half way through China now but I still have so many places to see!