The Great Wall of China - Jinshanling section

The Great Wall of China – Jinshanling Section

 

The last time I looked at my phone it was 3.10am. We were getting up that morning at 7am for the Great Wall of China. I think I got around 2.5 hours sleep that night. When I got up I was tired but still functioning, probably thanks to the epic 14 hour sleep we’d had the night before, but in total I still had a sleep deficit over the 3 days since we left.

We got in the hotel car at 8.20am and headed to Jinshanling, an area of Great Wall that was further from Beijing but much quieter than Badaling, the most touristic section. The drive took around 2 hours. It was blissfully quiet when we arrived on another hot sunny day. The walk up to the wall included an elderly smiling buck-toothed Mongolian lady chasing us to buy her t-shirts and picture books. We bought a book off her for 120rmb and she ran away having achieved what she wanted. The walk up to the wall was tough enough in itself and took around 30 minutes. We had arranged with the taxi driver to meet back at the car at 1.30pm giving us around 3 hours to explore.

The wall wound along the mountain tops and went on and on far into the distance. It was an impressive sight, one that I found hard to get bored of.
We walked west towards Simatai, once a great route to hike along for 3-4 hours but now sadly it is closed. But in reality I am glad we couldn’t have arranged to do the hike as I had first intended. The walk was mostly a climb and it was tough going in the hot sunshine. Hugging the side of the wall with the most shade all the way along we made our way past some restored and unrestored sections of wall. There were vendors all along the wall selling drinks and snacks. The view from the top was an unexpected highlight, we had thought it was all about the wall but what made it for me was being among the vast, vast mountain tops that went as far as the eye could see in all directions and were incredibly beautiful.

The wall wound along the mountain tops and went on and on and on far into the distance. It was an impressive sight and one that I found hard to get bored of. I could be easily persuaded to go back.

The Great Wall of China - Jinshanling section

The Great Wall of China – Jinshanling section

 

After 2 hrs and 15 mins we were exhausted from the climbing and happy when we got to an exit pointing back down to Jinshanling car park. We had 15 mins to get back to the car. As we left I felt in awe of anyone who has walked the whole length of the wall. It was a long walk down but paved all the way. It was so beautiful there. Our driver greeted us with a friendly smile and we left to go back to Beijing, sweaty but happy. We slept for around an hour on the car journey back.

The Temple of Heaven

 

We arrived at the hotel at 4.30pm. We showered and left the hotel to go to the Temple of Heaven, a Confucian park with temple buildings.

We passed men playing a board game with wooden counters, people singing opera and men and children flying kites together.
Although it was getting dark we took a quick stroll through, passing men playing some kind of board game with wooden counters, people singing opera and men and children flying kites together. It was magical and peaceful in a quietly bustling way. There was a rather disappointing rose garden and the grass was overgrown and fenced off so you had to stick to the path, but it was a lovely place for an early evening stroll.

Lost Heaven

 

On getting to the other side of the park we hailed a cab from the main road to Lost Heaven restaurant, another Time Out recommendation that didn’t disappoint. We got there around 7pm. Set in a square of colonial style buildings that used to be the American Embassy it felt safe and high end. The restaurant was again modern and classy, but with a dark trendy edge set against traditional touches. We were shown upstairs where it was busy with a good atmosphere. The menu was huge and there were so many things we wanted to eat from it. We ordered Burmese tea leaf salad, rice cakes, spicy beef and chicken. We got something slightly different but it was a good job we did as it was a delicious mistake. The rice cakes never arrived but instead we got a pork dish with a sesame seed and coriander sauce, which was to die for. We again had a pricey glass of wine and this time a very expensive bottle of Voss water (£8!!!) but the bill came to around £50 again, and again we were happy and well fed. It seemed we had begun a habit of eating only snacks for lunch and splurging on dinner. It was serving us well so far.

We got a cab back to the hotel and I went to bed at 9.30pm. I was out like a light.