Our time in China was filled with many things – crowds, good food, good friends and seeing some amazing sites. We drove almost two hours outside Beijing to see The Great Wall of China. To see something of such historical significance was pretty exciting. Years ago in my first year of teaching, I taught 6th grade which focused on ancient civilizations. My class learned about all the civilizations, but focused on China for a classroom museum. We actually built the Great Wall of China out of cardboard across our room for this hands on experience. So, this is something that I had learned about in school and taught as a teacher, but never dreamed I would see. It did not disappoint.
We decided not to just take a day trip from Beijing, but to spend a couple of nights at a place that someone recommended in the town of Mutianyu. I am so glad we did this. Driving almost two hours to and from the wall in one day would have been too much for all of us. Instead, we were able to walk from our cottage about 8 minutes up the road to get to the ski lifts which took us up to the Great Wall. Amazing! The views were phenomenal. The wall itself, stretched for miles either direction and looked like a snake on the ridge line. We were blown away. To think we were only seeing a small portion of the wall – it actually stretches a little over 13,000 miles east to west over China. The beginnings of the wall were started over 2,000 years ago! Just think of that!! We walked along the ancient wall for about an hour looking from tops of towers.
The highlight for the girls, of course, was the toboggan ride down from The Wall. Yes, you read it correctly. They have a toboggan that you ride for about 10 minutes to reach the base of the mountain. These were just like the Alpine Slides I rode as a kid at Boreal Ridge in Tahoe. The kids liked it so much, we walked back up to the wall early the next morning to do it again before it became crowded and we didn’t get slowed down by the others 🙂
Just an aside for those of you who might have this on a bucket list or are planning a trip in the future, head to Mutianyu and stay at the Brickyard if you want to see The Great Wall. It is such a charming place and a nice place to get away from the craziness of Beijing. Look it up. The restaurant is in an old schoolhouse and the main resort used to be a old tile factory. We stayed in Grandma’s Place up the way that was an old locals home redone in a quaint style.
All in all, it was a great experience and lived up to everything I hoped it would be for all of us.