I flew to Beijing on Friday the 15th to meet my weary friend. I was very excited to go to Beijing since I had only had the pleasure of flying threw the airport several times and never got a chance to see the sites! It was a long flight and I couldn'tÂt even imagine how tiring it would be for her knowing she was newly pregnant. Our timing was perfect, I was able to collect my luggage and head over to International arrivals in time to meet my girl! I was so surprised to see a sign with my name on it waiting for us an arrivals area. We had made arrangements to stay with our old Chengdu friends Lara and Owen & their son Xavier in Beijing and they had sent their driver to pick us up. Mr. Song helped us with our luggage and we were on our way to the Lara and Owen's place to get settled in.
On our first full day in Beijing Lara and Owen gave us their driver for the day and we headed out to the Great Wall. It was about an hour and a half drive from the city to get to Badaling where we would take a walk on the wall. We opted for Badaling because it was the most restored and easy to climb then the other two areas to view the wall. I thought easiest would be better for our expecting mother!
When we arrived at the Badaling entrance to the Wall we opted to take the gondola ride to the top, which we were very pleased with because of the spectacular views of the mountainous terrain where the wall was built.
Looking down from the inside of our gondola.
We walked down the wall and we were able to take quite a few photos of this wonder of the world. The only disappointment with the day is that the pollution was horrible, so most of our pictures have a hazy sky. The walk down was quite treacherous and I swore that we would see someone fall before the end of the day, which we surprisingly didn't. Here are a few photos of our hike.
After we got to the bottom of the wall we were trying to decide where the van was parked when a group of Chinese school girls and boys asked Jeanette if they could be photographed with her. This was only the beginning of the Jeanette Fan Club!
We decided to stop for lunch and see another historical site called the Ming Tombs. The tombs are where 13 or the 16 Ming Dynasty emperors are buried. One of my travel books made it sound extremely interesting, so we thought we would check it out. I would have to recommend giving these tombs a miss if you are every visiting the Great Wall. They were a huge disappointment and you could use your time better another way. On the way back to town we called Lara and she scheduled the three of us to go to my favorite massage chain Dragonfly for massages. Jeanette had the Chinese massage while I opted for the top to toe. I just love this massage because it makes you feel like a queen having two people massage you at once.
After massages we all met up with two other Chengdu friends that were in town, Asma and Spanish Karen for dinner at Indian Kitchen to end our evening. Jeanette and I were exhausted from all our hiking and massages!