Today was honestly one of the most exhausting days of my life. Not only did my iPhone tell me that I logged 8.2 miles of walking and took over 21,000 steps, but I am pretty sure I sweated every ounce of water in my body out as well. Nevertheless, it was a very exciting and eventful day.
The day began by me waking up at 6:30 am. This was a little disturbing as I am usually a very sound and late sleeper. It probably has to do with jetlag. Around 7:45 I made my way downstairs for breakfast. The Pentahotel has the best hotel breakfast that has ever been offered to me. It also turns out that I love dragon fruit a lot. The day then continued by our guides Jane and Liliana giving us a brief presentation on what will be covered in the rest of the trip. The itinerary presented has me excited for what is to come. After the presentation we ventured our way out of the city to the Great Wall.
The Great Wall took a little while to get to, but our tour guide Joe made the time pass just slightly faster. What really amazed me on the ride was the scenery. Beijing shifts from a major metropolitan area to a rural farming area rather abruptly. One second we were on an expressway and the next moment we were weaving the backroads of China. Just outside of the wall we stopped at a local Chinese restaurant and ate another family style meal on a revolving table. This, like the first day, was also a pleasurable meal.
Following this elaborate meal, we got back onto the bus and finally made our way to the Great Wall. At first it reminded me a lot of the cruise port in Jamaica with everyone coming up to you and offering you goods for a cheap price. Some of the items looked like good souvenirs, but we were told by locals not to buy there. It was kind of disturbing how pushing some of the people were. Eventually we made our way to the bottom of the mountain. This is where the adventure really began.
As a group we hiked up the mountain, via a trail of stairs. The hike was 20 minutes of walking straight up. I do not think I have had anywhere close to that great of a calf workout in my life. Once we got onto the wall I saw some views that no words could describe. We walked along the wall in both directions for an hour and were even more tired at the end of that. It was 80 degrees and sunny, I do not think I have ever been so sweaty from walking in my entire life. Again, this was the prettiest thing I have ever seen.
The final part of my Great sweaty journey for the day was when we rode toboggans down the mountain side. These were a fun alternative to just walking down the stairs we had just walked up hours before. After returning to the hotel and resting for a minute, a group of us went out to eat by ourselves for the first time. This alone was an adventure as we had no form of communication with the waiters. We somehow survived and got a lot of food for around 5 US dollars. This was truly a great day, and I hope the rest of the trip can live up to the standards that this day set!