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    Thursday 10 September 2009

    Day nine – The Great Wall

    A work colleague of Vinnie’s has a friend, Fiona, who is based out here in Beijing. Through her, we orgaised a private tour guide and driver to take us to The Great Wall of China and The Summer Palace. After filling ourselves on the breakfast buffet, we were picked up around 8:30am and started the 90km drive to the Mutianyu part of The Great Wall.

    There are three main open stretches of the wall accessible from Beijing. The first, Badaling, is over crowded with tourists and market sellers and is in fact the closest being some 70km outside the city. The second is not really walk-able as it’s in ruins. The third, Mutianyu, is the one we visited. It’s a 3km stretch, restored by the Germans in the 80’s on top of the original foundations. You can’t walk outside the 3km boundaries, as it’s too dangerous.

    The weather was perfect, around mid 20’s, slightly overcast and very little fog. We walked around 2km up and down steps, some extremely steep. The views were breathtaking.

    After The Great Wall we drove for over an hour through the Chinese countryside, back into the suburbs of Beijing to visit the Summer Palace were we took a dragon boat ride on the lake. This Palace was the summer retreat for the Emperor and family.

    That evening we met up with Fiona, who worked close to the apple store we’d visited earlier that week. She brought us to a local Thai restaurant owned by an English/Thai couple. The food was amazing; it was the first chicken based meal in China to be made with white meat! We were both so stuffed from the massive portions.

    An early night for us tonight as tomorrow we’ve to get up early to pack and travel back to Hong Kong.

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