These boots were made for walking.....
16.05.2010 - 16.05.2010 30 °C
Today was full of action as we went to quite a few places just outside of Beijing proper.
First stop: The Ming Tombs. Did you know that 13 of the 16 emperors of the Ming Dynasty were entombed here with their families? We went to the Dingling Tomb, in which Emperor Wan-li and Empresses Wang and Wang were buried. It was quite interesting to walk down inside it (and I believe is the only tomb that has been excavated and allows tours) and see the various artifacts such as the marble grand thrones, the sacrificial altar and the burial spots. Further interesting was the ingenius methods that they came up with in those times to seal the grand doorways which is pretty hard to describe! You can still though see the golden well, and while the majority of artifacts are in the museums, the entire burial grounds were accessable to visit.
Thomas earned a soldier's green hat with a red star and he enjoyed playing 'soldier' and standing at attention ahead of us and waiting for us to walk past him.
Second Stop: The Jade Museum. This wasn't as interesting as the Ming Tombs, and in fact was just a ploy to hawk jade. The museum tour was about 4 minutes long before two large doors opened up and bang, time to buy jade. We opted out of purchasing and went upstairs to our country meal of a large bowl of rice, some fish caught nearby, some tofu in peppers and a zucchini dish that had invisible chilli powder in it. We were a bit happy to leave that place.
Third Stop: Badaling Chong Chong! The Great Wall at Badaling! Now this was the most fantastic part of today's trip. We visited the wall and walked towers 7 to 6 and visited the fortress. There was a very cool slidecar you could choose to go down but we didn't have the time. We drove to Badaling and boarded the cablecar gondolas which allows us to take a pleasant trip over the bare mountain face and deep valleys of stone. While it was disappointing to see people carved their names into the stones of the Wall, just the sheer enginuity, drive and determination to build such a defense was very impressive to witness first-hand. Badaling is pretty famous as former US president Nixon and Mao Zedong climbed and walked and visited here many years ago.
Everyone in the family agreed that today was a very special day.