Well day 2 on the wall was an epic effort! After our 2 hour bus trip out of Beijing, we landed on the Jinshaling section of the wall, northern pass gate Gubeikou ready for a 16km trek.
It started off quite hot, with a steep mountain climb through the bush to get to the wall. This was a little tough considering our previous night’s activities but it certainly kick started our day with a bang.
The countryside was absolutely stunning and ever-changing with every peak and valley we covered. Stopping regularly to take in the views and capture the moments on film, we trekked for about 6 and a half hours up and down stairs, climbing hills and following narrow paths alongside the wall where we were unable to walk on sections.
The lactic acid started to kick in during the afternoon and I found some of the stairs a little challenging… short legs don’t really help!
Our guide Michael organised to purchase a goat from a local family to be barbecued for dinner at another local family house near the wall. We arrived tired and hungry and were met by our friendly hosts who welcomed us into their world with much enthusiasm! I’ve never eaten goat before and I initially had a few issues with it, because I like goats and wouldn’t normally be interested in devouring one! We were all blown away by how good it was though. It was absolutely awesome!
After a few beers and a full belly we got back on the bus and travelled to a town about an hour away from the Wall. The bus ride was one hell of an experience…with the Chinese driving habits of overtaking on bends, flashing their lights and generally risky behavior, we had ourselves a little white knuckle time..
We arrived at what we thought was a pretty flash hotel..from the outside. My room looked something like a ballroom with polished wooden floors, a couple of beds up one end, a billiard and card table in the middle and tv etc down the end. Sounds good in theory, but it was a little bit creepy really. There was actually a Fawlty Towers feel about it with one of the staff showing us to our rooms, flicking on lights and pointing out switches all the while constantly talking in Chinese as if we understood what she was saying. Unfortunately for some of our girls, they were shown into rooms that actually had people sleeping in them! Others had malfunctioning toilets and me.. well I managed to have a shower under a trickle of water, which took a while.
All in all we we felt a great sense of achievement. We’re now ready for day 3.