Ming tombs, sacred walks and the Wall

Ming tombs, sacred walks and the Wall
Beijing, China

Beijing, China


Off for an hour’s drive North East to the Ming Tombs. A great deal less crowded. Maybe the rest of Beijing decided to go to the Summer Palace again as it was a sunny day. Hooray, personal space! The tombs are one of the few exhibits we’ve seen so far that you can actually go inside. Elly fell in love with a jacket called the coat of 1000 children. We sat under Cypress trees watching the birds build nests in the eaves of a pagoda having a cool water. Then onto the Sacred Way a kilometre long avenue lined with Ming statues. We were the only ones here – bliss, solitude. The group was happy and very relaxed at this point. Bright sunshine and not even a single hawker offering you Olympic hats 2 for 10 Yuan ($1)or a pop art Mao T-shirt. We got to Bandaling at about 3.30. You have two choices at the Wall, to turn North and aim for a plaque commemorating Chairman Mao’s exaltation that “you weren’t a true hero of China until you had climbed the Great Wall” or go South. Have a guess which way we all went. 70,000 Chinese patriots heading North and 20 Europeans going South. The Wall is simply extraordinary. It feels like perpetual motion; you struggle up to a watch tower convinced you’ve reached a high point only to see the thing snake away up to another peak. It’s slightly addictive as you pant up another insanely steep incline and swear this is your last watch tower only to look at each other and say “OK the next is definately the last” They sell some wierd souveniers on the wall. I can understand the ‘I’ve climbed the Wall’ T-shirts but not the need in 35 degree temperatures to buy a Pashmina shawl or a pee-pee boy. (A Chinese version of the famous Belgian fountain ststue). I remember saying to Elly half way up that what I really fancied wasn’t a cold beer but a plastic figurine of a Chinese boy having a pee – luckily they had hundreds. Staggered down the wall and then the best beer in decades. Rounded the day off with dinner at the hotel with free and unlimited Sushi (amongst the stir fry).


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