Today was a trip to the Great Wall, which featured many stairs and many people! A handful of us took the road less traveled and explored away from the majority of the group, which soldiered on up the wall. Nonetheless, all were impressed with it, and agreed with Nixon: "It is a very great wall..."
The Great Wall of ChinaWe then continued on to see how cloisonné is made in a local factory before having lunch. After lunch we went to the Ming Tombs to walk the Sacred Way and admire the gigantic stone statues. We continued on back into Beijing to walk around the Olympic grounds, getting up close and personal with the Bird's Nest, the Water Cube, and more Chinese friends who wanted to take our pictures. From there we sampled several kinds of tea and learned the proper way to make it (and slurp it!) before having dinner and returning to the hotel.
The Sacred Way
We have a short night tonight, with a 4:15am wake up call so we can get to the airport and take our 7:40 flight to Xi'an. (I won't lie, there was some grumbling about the early hour...) Hopefully they have heeded the advice of getting to bed early--ironic, isn't it that this is being sent at 11:15 pm by me, the advice giver? Tomorrow we bike the city wall and visit the Wild Goose Pagoda!
Onward, and Westward, to the ancient capital!