So we arrived here fine if a little tired from the flight but we made it! Meet Ben (a guy who is on our trip) at the airport which was good so we all managed to find the hotel together. Hotel is nice but think we are being spoiled as the first accomadation! Not sure it will always be like this! Me, Dan and Ben decided to go and explore Beijing - soon discovered that it is massive!! I mean huge! We were wondering for 3 hours and went a tiny distance! We met with the rest of our group in the evening of the 05.09.08. All very nice and a real mix - mostly our age ish! We are from all around the world, Belgium, Swedish, Australian and good old Blighty!! 12 all together.
On the 06.09.08 we climbed the Great Wall of CHINA!! It was bloody hard work! So, so steep in places up and down! Very good for the thighs and the calf muscles!! But not great for the lungs! Danny wizzed up and loved it! I did too but it took some going! We did 29 towers (the big bits you can see on the pictures) and walked 13km. Terry Li our guide said that we were the fastest group he had taken! We did it in 3hrs and he allowed 5 so not bad going really! Really enjoyed it and it was stunning views! You just had to get tho the top to see them! Very good fun and a great first day. In the evening we went out for Din Sum which is traditionally from the south of CHina (which is where our guide is from) and we eat DUCKS FEET and TURTLE JELLY! The ducks feet were ok and the turtle jelly was horrible! But at least we tried it!! We then went out for a few beers with the group and played some pool and got to know each other a bit more which was great!
Today (07.09.08) we had a free day so me, Danny, Mark, Donna and Ben went to explore more of Beijing. We went to the Sunday Market which was a little disappointing, spent very little time there and decided to go to The Temple of Heaven - very beautiful and the Temple was amazing! How they built them so long ago I shall never know! The temple of Heaven was used to pray to the Gods for good harvest. There was also an echo wall. This was crazy! It was a circular wall and if one person stood over one side and the other over the other and spoke North you could hear each other perfectly! It was amazing! This temple is just in the middle of this crazy, busy city - just peacefulness!! We then hot footed it over to the Birds nest stadium. For this we braved the Metro! Not actually that bad although we did get a little help from a local which is always very helpful! The people are so kind! They always come and help if you look lost! The stadium was cool, very big and we saw the pool too. The paraolympics started today so it was very busy. LOADS and LOADS of people! We felt a bit like celebraties today as the Chinese kept on taking our photos and really staring! It was quite strange! They are still getting used to seeing Westeners around and about - they think we are very funny! We then got a local bus to the Summer Palace. This was HUGE and amazing! It was built for one of the Emporers wifes of the Princess, but it was very impressive. It was a series of beautiful buildings around this huge lake. Very breath taking! We didn't have much time here as we had to hop foot it back to the hotel to go to see the acrobats. We got the wrong bus and then had toi get the metro when we got off the bus! It was all very rushed but very enjoyable! Got to see lots that we wouldn't have if we had got the correct bus! Acrobats were awesome! Tommorrow we are going to Tia'ammen Square, The Forbidden City, A centre for diabled people and the Silk Market before we have to board a sleeper train for 11hrs to our next stop Xi'an!!
Let you know how that is next time! Lots of love Dan and Becky (Benny) xxxx