The number one activity on my bucket list for China was the Great Wall. I had researched and planned and imagined how we could get there but nothing – no photo, video, movie, whatever – could prepare me for now incredible the Great Wall of China is.
There was a group of us who took a bus to the Mutianyu section of the Wall, about and hour and a half from Beijing by bus. This section of the wall is less crowded and touristy than some of the other sections of the wall closer to Beijing. Mutianyu has a few interesting sections, namely some very overgrown and run down sections of wall.
It took us about 3hrs to cover a few sections between the main pylons because the were some pretty steep parts to scale. There were sections that we were climbing with hands as well because they were so steep!
The Great Wall met every single one of my hopes for my time in China. I am in awe of the people and the empires that built such impressive structures but it was also so much fun to scale this national monument! This one also had a ski lift to the top and the toboggan ride downhill, but don’t worry I was much faster than I was on the last one! I wonder if there are many thing that we could apply this formulas to at home…. (Tall national monument + ski lift + toboggan = interesting tourist destination!)
Don’t think for one second that my bucket list is only about tourist sites. Oh no, it goes far beyond that! It extends quite nicely to food and other delicious adventures. The number one on my food destination list was a Peking duck restaurant. Luckily, there was a famous Peking Duck restaurant called Da Dong very close to where we were staying.
A group of us sat down for a meal of the most delicious duck you could ever imagine. Firstly, a dish of hoisin sauce, melon, cucumber, spring onion and sugar was brought out for each person as the duck was expertly carved by the chef, then, delicate crepes were brought out as well as a fine sesame bread of sorts.
The waitress explained to us the process of selecting ingredients to blend for each part of the duck. Lastly, she told us that the crispy skin of the duck was to be dipped in the sugar for a taste sensation. It was divine. Although there was not a huge amount of food on the table that night, we all felt full from the rich duck and delicious accompaniments.
It was a perfect way to wrap up our time in China. I felt a twinge of sadness as we packed our bags and made our way to the airport. China had been an eye-opening and exciting experience and it was a fantastic start to this adventure of ours.