Great Wall and Lake Area
Great Wall Travel Blog› entry 18 of 54 › view all entries
We woke up today, packed up our stuff including the damp clothes from yesterday's laundry, and went to a new hotel that we saw while walking around last night. This hotel was significantly cheaper and up the road some from where we were the night before. We had some steamed buns (32 cents for 10) and some spicy pancake type of thing sold on the side of the street, which filled both of us up. We took the metro to the other side of Beijing and then looked for a bus to the Great Wall. We took the cheap, city-run bus that was more local Chinese than foreign tourists. It took some walking around since we got off the subway at the wrong stop but we managed to find the 919 bus after having a couple 12.
The bus was air conditioned and cost $1.50 for the direct approximately one hour ride. Once there, we had to walk from the bus stop down past a ton of souvenir stands and people yelling "Hello, sir, hello!" After paying to enter the Great Wall, we hiked up it. There were a ton of tourists and vendors that harrassed everyone that walked by. It was a little annoying having to deal with all of that while trying to enjoy the Great Wall. After walking for awhile we got away from most of that though.
So we went to the main spot for tourists at the Great Wall where it had been reconstructed and opened to visitors. You could see the wall continue goind up and down the hills and see it trail off into the distance, which was really neat.
We walked back from the end of the wall, out the entrance, and back to the bus. At the bus stop, there was a crowd of Chinese people. Every time a bus came up, everyone would push and try to get on the bus and get a seat. After a couple buses came, we managed to get on one and get the last seats in the back. This bus was not air-conditioned and made stops on the way back to Beijing but it wasn't too bad.
When we were back in Beijing, we were right next to the start of the Back Lakes Walking Tour suggested by the Frommer's guidebook. Although we didn't actually go to any of the historical buildings listed on the walking tour, we walked around the lake area. It was a nice region with a bunch of bars and restaurants. There were a lot of locals fishing and swimming in the lake despite its green color and some trash floating in it. Steve thought he might jump in for a swim but it was a little too disgusting to stand. After making a big loop around the scenic lake and having some ice cream and cold drinks, we made it back to the metro and went to a mall near our hotel the night before.
We walked through a big indoor market type of thing and got a meat on a stick.
When we got back to our hotel, we had to have someone repair our toilet since it was broken when we got there. When that was finally done, we played a game of hunt and kill the mosquitos. Arum slept in the sleeping bag but didn't really sleep much. Steve slept like a rock though.
Arum and Steve