Beijing, CHN

Beijing, CHN

Sunday, 22. June 2014

To the Great Wall and back.

We’ve been in Beijing for a few days now, staying with relatives of Louise. The Kröll family moved here two years ago as we started our Weiberwalz tour. From the former German colony of Quingdao, we made our way to Beijing by train at the beginning of last week. On our first evening the family invited us to a tasty German dinner, where they had put delicious home-made bread, butter, cheese, mini sausages and a big bowl of salad on the table. To have food from home in this city so far away was a lovely experience.

Next day we went on a fabulous bike tour through the centre of Beijing, past many of the important squares and  buildings and through the lively hubbub in the narrow alleyways. We had hired two bikes, packed a map and a guide book and stopped at all sorts of houses to read up on the history of the city.

Next on the list was a trip to the Great Wall of China. The plan was to get to a place to climb onto the wall, and then walk for a few days to one of its restored parts, but this was harder than we thought. We took a minibus to our chosen starting point, however on arrival we couldn’t find anywhere to shop for food or to fill up our water. Instead we went somewhere where they served beans and rice, and asked the owner whether we could have six portions of rice in a plastic bag to take away. And so we had something nutritious for our planned walk on the wall. Louise asked if they also had water and we were given lots of 0,5l bottles. So with filled stomachs and rucksacks we tried to get closer to the wall, negotiating barbed wire and rocks, but after a while we couldn’t get any further. The entrances to the watch towers had been blocked off with stones, barbed wire and wooden planks firmly nailed into place. To get up onto the wall next to these was just as impossible. As the Chinese Emperor built this 5-7 metre high protective wall to keep out the Mongolians, we two girls obviously had no chance of getting up easily.

As it was getting dark we decided to give up and instead search for somewhere to pitch the tent under the peach trees in the village. The next morning we enjoyed a breakfast of a big portion of rice with peaches, sugar and cinnamon before wandering through the valley with its villages. Our destination was a more touristy place where they charge 5€ per person to climb the wall. A steep flight of steps made it considerably easier to access this great construction.

The view at the top over more of the wall was very impressive. As far as the eye can see the wall meanders along the tops of the mountains. We climbed back down and walked to the bus station in town. After another night in the tent we made our way back to the Krölls the next day, and briefly interrupted our journey at the Olympic stadium.