Wake up and smell the Great Wall….


We woke at 5.15 ready for sunrise. Sleepily scaling the wall was probably a little dangerous in hindsight but it was totally worth it as obviously the sun rises on the opposite side of the watch tower to the sunset the night before, providing an alternative view on the beautiful landscape. 

The view that way was really different but just as amazing. I think the way the planets and stars work is incredible at the best of times, but to watch the sunset the night before on one side of the tower, then watch it rise again on the opposite side just reminded me of how cool it all is- in the time we had been sleeping we had done a half rotation of the world. I find it all rather mind blowing. 

Following sunrise at 5.48am we took a big hike up to another section of the wall. It was really tough due to the heights/ crumbling rocks and the dodgy ankles didn’t really help the cause. We were a long way behind the rest of the group but I was determined that I wanted to make it. It seemed like every time I climbed to one peak another popped up, even higher than the last. 

After a nerve wracking 45 minutes we made It. It was worth it not only for the sense of personal accomplishment but also because of the amazing views which really showed off the enormity of the wall. It stretched as far as the eye could see. We had managed over 4km before breakfast, after which we packed our tents down and hiked back down the mountain.

On the way back we stopped at the Beijing Olympic stadium, the bird’s nest. It was quite an impressive structure, but I was surprised to learn about how infrequently it is used now. The Chinese Government didn’t have much in the way of plans for the area except to prove their ability to pull off such an event as the Olympics on a grand scale. Billions of pounds were invested into something that was largely barren. Our guide told us about a Brazil vs Argentina match that had taken place recently at the stadium to try and get it being used again- tickets cost in excess of £300 each and Chinese people travelled hundreds of miles to attend. The poor planning on the part of the designers however had not taken into consideration the frequent issues with visibility due to extremely pollution in the Beijing area, resulting in very few people in the 87,000 seater stadium being able to see the pitch, and the players only being able to physically cope for 30 minutes. It was a catastrophe. I’m really glad the London stadium hasn’t been caused such a calamity. 

We went for a traditional roast duck dinner which we had certainly earned over the last two days. It was really tasty, but we only ordered two ducks for the whole table, meaning I only sampled one pancake! I think we will have more opportunities for such delicacies in the next few days.