May 27

Day 3: The Great Wall

Friday the 25th of May…

After a well-deserved sleep in a bed, we got up and headed down for breakfast. There were lots of delicious choices – the Chinese doughnuts were popular with Charli, Abi and Ciana, whilst Lachie was content with a large plate of bacon. Matt made sure the coffee machine got a good work out too!

After we double checked that we had everything, a move was made to the buses and we continued to travel with Team Puxi and Pearl combined. On the way in the bus, our tour guide Selina got a karaoke competition going – with some taking the limelight including Lachie who sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with the Camp Hill twins and Matt who shamed Big Hill when requested to sing Beyoncé “Single Ladies”. Thankfully he didn’t dance – the singing  was bad enough. Jokes were also shared but most compared to the worst kind of Christmas Bon Bon humour. After about and hour or so, we arrived at The Great Wall of China!

We excitedly climbed off the bus, marshalled in our two tour groups and headed up the slopes to the first departure point – where we hopped up a short tourist bus route to climb further up the mountain along winding narrow streets. When we disembarked, we again walked a short way before getting on a chairlift in pairs. Some of our travellers found the chairlift scary – while others enjoyed the view of green forests below – we wondering where Kung Fu Panda might be? Could he be down there somewhere munching on the bamboo? As the chairlift got to the top of the range the Great Wall came into view. It was magic!

We spent nearly two hours walking along the top of the Great Wall – climbing up the viewing towers and platforms to take photos. It was hot and humid in the sun, so we enjoyed the cool of the stone towers with dark rooms and walkways beneath. The wall went on for as far as we could see – and whilst it is over 5000km long we only did about 1km of it! Very beautiful!

Rather than chairlift down, the entire group (including all staff) chose to toboggan back to base camp and the connecting bus. The kids loved the toboggans but did report that at times it was hard to control. If you didn’t use the brake and you had no one in front of you, there was no stopping your trip if you chose to let loose! It was great fun coming down the mountain, crossing valleys and dipping under trees and around rocky outcrops to reach the end of the line.

After connecting back to the entry area, the kids enjoyed doing some bartering for different gifts to bring home. The tour guides described the sellers as tough-going but our kids did pretty well – buying some lovely items. Sorry – can’t tell you what…some are special gifts for loved ones at home.

After a long trip back to Beijing, we had Peking Duck Lunch at a lovely restaurant. The roasted skin was delicious – although a couple of our travellers didn’t agree. Duck eye and brain was also served – one of our group may have just tried this delicacy 😉 (not Matt!).

The afternoon was a bit challenging. Our flight to Shanghai was cancelled due to a big storm in Shanghai. We had to sit in the airport for nearly 2 hours while accommodation was organised. It was so hot and humid in the airport whilst we waited. Finally we got a bus to a hotel 10 minutes from the airport.

On arrival there, we were all forced to wait another hour while they tried to sort out rooms for us all.

By 8pm we finally had rooms and a bed for the night. The hotel was not the best – but at least we had beds, air conditioners and were safe! Ask us when we come home and we can give you more detail of the Beijing Alympic Airportel (spelling as it was in neon lights) Let’s just say if all of us (Matt included) had to stay again – we would prefer not to!

By 8:30 we had dinner at the hotel on metal trays – prison style…or canteen chic! The choice was limited and due to some being extremely tired – a lot of rice was chosen over other options available. Matt did find the food wasn’t too bad – especially a nice chicken, peanut and macadamia stir fry dish! Everyone was over tired, sick of sitting around waiting and hot so by bed time – there were a few tears and wishes to go home…it’s ok Matt…not long now (jokes)

Overall from 7am – 3pm: Brilliant, Amazing, Blow Your Mind! From 3pm till bed: hot, challenging, frustrating, Confronting. What a day!