In planning our trip to the Mainland, we anticipated a bit of gloom to hang over us on Christmas day since we would find ourselves sans family to celebrate the holiday. So, with the goal of preventative maintenance, we planned a tour to take us to the Great Wall on the 25th. Our tour guide came and picked us up around 8:00 and we were off. On the way to the Wall, we made a few stops at the burial sites for the Emperors where our tour guide gave an impressively concise oration on the uprisings and downfalls of all the different dynasties and their leaders. We were also taken to a jade factory, a cloison factory, and a silk manufacturer. Of course at each stop, our guide made sure that we had ample opportunities to commemorate our trip to
It probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that there are actually several different places where one can visit the Great Wall. So, as we drove to the portion we chose, the snaking wall could be seen all over the side of the road juxtaposing the two cross-millennial highways. Our tour guide informed us that the cable car that usually runs to the top of the wall was not running since it was the slack season. Instead, we would be offered “sleds” to take us halfway to the top of our particular location. Not really knowing what to expect, we agreed to the sleds rather than hiking a few hours in the subzero temperatures. The “sleds” certainly did not disappoint. We were welcomed to the
You may recall from our “Cup of Tea” blog, things rarely turn out the way I plan them, especially when we are abroad. I had this wonderful picture in my head where Chris and I would don Santa hats and skip cheerfully about the Wall spreading our Christmas cheer to the tourists and Great Wall memorabilia hawkers. Unfortunately, the frigid temperatures and gusting winds sapped a bit of our Christmas spirit. We snapped a few photos, shoved our hands in our pockets and faces in our jackets and marched to the top. Wincing as we removed our warm winter hats to replace them with Santa’s seemingly meager getup, we went to take THE picture. Ideal photo attempts were thwarted when we saw that the cold temperatures had sapped the camera battery and it was dead! Not ready to give in too easily, we braved the wind gales at the top of the Wall for a few extra minutes as we warmed the battery in our gloves. Ready once again for the shot, we made our best attempt at looking warm and happy, took the picture, and ran as fast as our numb legs would carry us back to a more covered location on the Wall to shelter us from the wind. Muttering through chattering teeth about the incredible thing we were witnessing, we decided that we had witnessed as much as we could before frostbite set in. So, we set our eyes back on the roller coaster that would guide us back down the hill and bring us a few steps closer to the car and the heat inside it.
We had been planning all trip that we would experience the famed Peking Duck (a specialty of
Rolling out of the restaurant, we hailed a taxi and were taken directly back to the hotel, something that we definitely didn’t take for granted. We decided that it was a very merry Christmas indeed and we looked forward to the rest that