Another day in Beijing, but this time, we were taken by bus into the mountains to the north of the city to see a portion of the Great Wall of China.
It truly is a GREAT wall.
From Wikipedia: Apart from defense, other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.
We had several hours to explore, so Giselle and I started up the steep climb to the top. It was a tough go and Giselle had to stop about halfway up. I kept at it, pushed along by a group of Chinese women who insisted on selfies with me along the way. I made it to the top, along with several others from our tour group. The views were awesome!
Once we were all back together, we loaded up on the bus and were taken back into Beijing for a lunch stop. Many of our meals were served in restaurants that catered to tour groups. The food was bland, mostly steamed vegetables and fried meats and spicy soups. We sat at round tables with a large turntable in the middle. We were each served a small glass of beer or juice and the food was brought out and placed on the turntable where we could choose what to eat.
After lunch, we were taken to a tea house where we were shown the proper way to have tea and then had time to visit the tea shop. They had many different types of tea for sale, some were very old and very expensive.
After a very long day and a freshen up back at our hotel, we took an evening excursion to the Beijing Olympic site. A truly modern area of the city, all lit up and very pretty. It was quite cold that evening, but worth the trip.