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From the ancient to the new (with some tea in between)

The Great Wall, Tea house & Beijing Olympic Park


View Doyle and Dan's Adventure on doyledan's travel map.

Despite a restless night being plagued by mosquitoes (regardless of using our nets and copious amounts of deet) we were all excited about today's adventure of climbing The Great Wall of China! As one of the 7 wonders of the world this was on the bucket list for many of us and a huge draw for Dan and I to include China in our trip.

We headed to the Bedaling section of the wall which was about an hour and half drive out of Beijing. As we left the hectic morning traffic and concrete skyline of Beijing behind we found ourselves surrounded by green hillsides that turned into mountains, an incredible change of scenery. Bedaling is one of the busiest sections of the wall but is meant to offer some of the best views. We were a bit concerned that it would be too crowded but as the national holiday had finished a couple of days earlier we were fortunate to have missed the mass influx of Chinese making pilgrimage to the wall.

We were not disappointed!! We were at the wall at one of the most beautiful times of year as it was surrounded by the changing colours of autumn with all the shades of red, gold and green adding to the already breathtaking setting.

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The Great Wall is just that... GREAT!! Having built a few walls recently myself it is hard to believe that this could have been made so many years ago, how did they do the rock run up here and build on such steep slopes?! Even with today's technology it would be quite a feat and so it is no surprise that it took 10 years hard labour to complete (although I thought it would have taken longer!).

As they say in China

"If you have not climbed the Great Wall then you are not a man"

so we were all determined to tackle the steep steps and inclines to prove ourselves (boys and girls alike!), and it was really steep in places!

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At every turn there was another spectacular view

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As some of the only Western people walking the wall that morning our group became quite an attraction too, constantly being photographed which was an odd experience! What was interesting was the outfits some people wore to climb the wall. We were all wearing walking boots but some of the ladies were attempting to scale it in heels! Given that some sections were almost vertical it was not surprising that we saw a couple of tumbles on the decent!

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After two and a half hours on the wall we went for a well deserved lunch!

In the afternoon we planned to go and visit the Beijing Olympic Park but when we arrived a cycle race was taking place and so the surrounding roads were closed until 5pm

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So we went to a tea house called Dr Tea to 'kill some time'. There we were taken into a VIP room and told about the different types of teas in China and were able to sample several including Jasmine tea, Oolong (dragon) tea, Pu'er tea and Fruit tea.
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Pu'er tea is the oldest of the teas and is left to mature for at least 7 years and as with wine the older it is the better and some of the teas on sale were over 18 years old. This tea is known for its medicinal purposes and promotes good health and can aid with weight loss if drunk after a meal. Just one small piece of this tea can be reused 7 times.
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We were shown how to make the tea and one of the most important things is to get the temperature of the water just right and they had an ingenious way of checking this...a PeePee Boy! This is a clay model of a boy and you pour the water into a hole on his head to check the temperature, if it is hot enough then it pees out the hot water!

It is also important to hold your cup in the right way. If you are a lady then you hold your index and little finger out but if you are a man then you need to keep them closed, unless you want people to think you are a ladyboy!
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Back at the Olympic Park we marvelled at the Birds Nest Stadium and The Cube where the aquatics was held, and had a bit of fun too!
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After such a long day it was definitely time for bed!
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Posted by doyledan 20:35 Archived in China

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Comments

Four weeks building walls in Namibia and a day scouting a rather long one in China combine to give me great ideas how to improve my boundary too keep my mad dog in!
Thanks for the insights. The trip is proving worthwhile for me as well as you!!
All our love (plus a meow and a woof)
Barristerman
xxxxx

by barristerman

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