Today was our first full day in China! We started the day by having a delicious breakfast at our hotel buffet. After our breakfast we got on the bus to travel to the Great Wall.
On the way there our tour guide Joe taught us a lot about Beijing during the different dynasties and the history of the Great Wall. Once we got off the bus, we had our first experience with squat toilets which was interesting to say the least. Then we took a shuttle to the start of the walk up the mountain. I don’t think any of us were ready for the stairs we had to climb to get up to the wall, it felt like they would never end. But once we got to the top the views from the Great Wall were amazing. My favorite part of the wall was going up to the top of one of the watch towers to get an even better view of the mountains. To get back down the mountain we went on the toboggans down the slide which was a lot of fun even though the slow group in front of us kept holding us up. Overall the Great Wall was a lot of fun but my advice to anyone who goes would be to take the chairlift up the mountain.
For lunch we went to a restaurant near the Great Wall and had another family style meal. The food there was probably my favorite so far because it was a little less traditional than our dinner yesterday. After lunch we got back on the bus and headed to the Summer Palace.
It was interesting to learn about all the different things at the Summer Palace that were built over fifteen years, all for one woman. My favorite part of the Summer Palace was walking down the corridor which was the longest corridor in the world. We walked down along a really pretty manmade lake. There were tons of Chinese people everywhere we went taking photos and videos of us, it felt like we were famous. The architecture of all the structures and the hand painting at the Summer Palace was beautiful and it all still looked original even hundreds of years later. The Summer Palace was not exactly what I expected it to be. I thought it was going to be one large building, but it was actually many of buildings spread out over a large area. There was also a boat made of marble which was really cool even though it cannot actually float.
After the Summer Palace we all went for dinner at a hot pot restaurant. Hot pot is where you cook your own meat and vegetables in hot water. We had lamb and beef which was very good. I’m still not the best with chopsticks but I think my skills are improving more and more with each meal. Overall we had a great first day in China and we’re definitely all ready for some sleep.