This morning we were up early (4:45am) in order to get ready for a 6:00 bus ride to the Great Wall. We went to BaDaLing area to get to the Wall. Elevation is about 1,600 feet. As we left the flatlands for the mountains, it was foggy! When we actually got to BaDaLing, the fog started to lift but it was still not a very clear day.
In 221BC China was unified by Qin Shihuang (first emperor of the first dynasty), the man who had the terra cotta warrior army built for his tomb. He also was the one who had the Great Wall built. Several other men had built walls for protection but this guy had them all joined together and added to in order to have complete protection for all of China from northern invaders.
All of the work of the Wall was done by hand. Many men died while working on the Wall.
It was rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty, about 500 years ago, for protection from Mongolia. The signal towers on the Wall were used to warn the Chinese in Beijing of the size of the attackers. One tower for 500 or less, two towers for 1000, three towers for 1,500, four towers for ‘give it up.’ Haha
As we got to the Wall, we had the choice of going to the right or the left. The left was more difficult and, of course, we chose that. It started out not too bad but soon started climbing. Initially, it was a floor that got steeper until it finally changed to steps which also got steeper. The steps were also uneven in height. It reminded me of the steps on the Mist Trail in Yosemite (only no mist). We got to a certain point and I looked back. Scary! I chose not to think too much about it as I knew I would have to walk down. We continued a little further. Doug chose to continue walking but Dan and I turned back. I was extremely glad there were hand rails. I used them! Before we got back down, Dan’s legs were shaking from the effort of walking down the Wall.
I cannot imagine having to be a soldier defending the wall. They had to have tremendous leg strength.
As we drove to and from the Great Wall, we passed an area that looked like an amusement park – castles and all. Turns out it was going to be Wonderland but the developer got hit by the recession in the 1980s and it just sits there, partially completed.
After leaving the Great Wall, we were driven to the China Aviation Museum. It is the largest one I’ve ever seen. There are three buildings plus a huge outside area. One of the ‘buildings’ is actually a cave. I didn’t get to see that but Dan did. He said it went on and on.
I headed for the bus when Dan ran off to look in the cave. He only had 15 minutes. As we waited for him, the other three busses drove off. Then, we saw him running for the bus. The jokesters had the driver start moving to see how Dan would react. He just kept running. Everyone gave him a hard time about making us late for lunch.
Following lunch we went to learn a bit about jade and enjoy the opportunity to buy more stuff. Jadeite is the best quality of jade. It gets greener as times goes by. There are hard and soft jades. Jade is hard and can scratch glass. If you hold it up to light, you should be able to see veins. If you can’t, it is fake.
A quick stop at the hotel and then we were off to Rainbow Hotel for the farewell banquet – Peking Duck. There was much more than just duck on our table. We were too full to eat all the food that was served!
At the end of the meal, Bus B riders, Amanda and KC posed for a photo. Several cameras later, we were done.
Hooray! Tomorrow is the ‘free’ day and there is no reason to get up early other than breakfast is over at 10.