We began our day meeting our private tour guide and driver in the hotel lobby at 9:00A. Our schedule today was to visit the Ming Tombs and Great Wall.
Our drive to the Ming Tombs was about 50 minutes taking us through the city to mountain regions. Once we arrived at the tombs, we spent about 30 minutes, walking the grounds. We did not go through all the tombs, but just main entrance.
This photo is the inside ceiling of the above building. It is constructed entirely of wood, without the use of any nails or bolts.
As we were nearing the Wall from the highway, you must pass through toll booths. When our driver passed the money to the agent, it was an indication that the winds were fierce. He basically crumpled up the bills and handed them over to the collector, so as not to have them blown from his hand
Once at the wall, we were fortunate to have a short distance walk to the entrance. Most tour buses must park quite a distance away, due to parking limitations at the wall.
You must walk through a small tunnel on the road to the wall. This was a wind tunnel, that made it extremely difficult walk.
Once at the wall, the wind and cold was something we have never experienced or will never forget. (Jim purchased a hat at the last minute from a street vendor as soon as we arrived)
The Great Wall
Portion of climb
The photos below show us with our hands on the wall. This was not done for effect. We were holding on for dear life from the wind that could easily blow you over. The cross winds coupled with the biting cold, made it almost impossible to be out there for more than a few minutes.
I wrapped the strap of my camera around my wrist during the climb. While I was taking a photo, a gust of wind almost blew the camera out of my hands and over the wall.
During the spring or summer most tourists spend about an hour or so here. Climbing at their leisure and then returning. This was not happening today.
Though we were there a short time, it was a remarkable experience to actually be at the Great Wall.
We stayed a short amount of time and headed back down to meet our guide.
The drive from the Wall, brought us past the steel building that is being built for the summer Olympics in 2008. Our driver pulled over so we could take a photo.
Opening ceremonies building for 2008 Olympics
Included in our tour was a stop for lunch at a restaurant designed for tour groups, with a shopping area attatched. Our prearranged was a typical Chinese food. Very good with quite a few different dishes.
Our tour lunch
Dinner was at Jing, which is located in the Peninsula hotel, a short distant from the Hyatt.
Most restaurants are not very crowded because this is off season. Choice of restaurants and availability to get a table has not been problem.