Wall Day

Today was one of our big-ticket items. A visit to the Great Wall of China, at Mutianyu. We stopped on the way for a demonstration of what is no one here as Cloisonné. (Think Ming vases and you’re in the right place). I’ve been admiring these two rather splendid dragon lion things for some time. I think they look pretty good either side of my front door. Unfortunately I don’t think they fit in my hand baggage, and even if they did I suspect Mrs TimOnTheTrain wouldn’t be too keen. Sigh.

My clients opted for more sensible things.

We arrived at the Great Wall. The sheer size of the national Chinese commitment to building the wall is staggering. One fifth of the entire population was working on construction. Tens of thousands of people worked, lived and died on the site. One alternative way of looking at the wall is to consider it as the longest cemetery in the world as the bodies of those who died were buried beneath the wall itself.

Our local guide in Beijing is named Lilly, and we have a tradition of taking a photograph together every time I visit on tour (Or rather getting some other hapless tourist to take it for us, this time it was a Mexican gentleman).

There’s really only one way to finish a day like this in style, and so that’s what we did. A visit to one of Beijing ‘s top restaurants for a Peking duck dinner. I’m stuffed full just now so it’s going to be an early night.

Tomorrow we move onto a second city Xi’An ready to visit the terracotta warriors. It will also be our first journey on the Chinese high speed rail network. Rail day is always a little frantic so I think a good nights sleep is a priority.

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