Up the Wall and Down the ( Heavenly, Sacred ) Way

Trip Start Feb 09, 2012
Trip End Mar 03, 2012

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Where I stayed
Guangzhou Hotel Beijing
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of China  ,
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Today we set off for the Great Wall experience at Badaling, about 60km as the crow flies from central Beijing. We passed the Desheng Men at the Northern end of central Beijing, the Olympic area, and the Dragon Head Building.

We stopped off at a Silk Factory and had a good time looking around their silk products after a demonstration of the silk making process. We bought a Quilt, two beautiful dark blue pillow cases with Dragons and Phoenixes, a 12 khoi embroidery, and a couple of silk paintings in the scroll fashion. The Yuan Hou Chou Zhuang. Silk factory was a marvelous place to visit. The staff were very amiable and helpful. Our goods were posted back to Australia and arrived 7 weeks later. 

We arrived at Badaling a little while later in freezing conditions but beautiful sunlight. the temperature was below zero and the wind chill factor dropped this further. We were given an Hour and a half to hike over the Wall. We had a great time going up and over. It was very windy right up on the top, and quite cold but I didn't feel all that cold. It was very exhilarating to be here after reading of and hearing about the Great Wall in my childhood.

 We arrived back at the base in the allotted time and headed off down the hill to a Jade factory. On the way down we travelled beside a push-pull train heading down hill too. This train was all silver and looked like a high speed train.

The Jade factory was an interesting place to visit too. There were some massive pieces of jade, of Eagles, Buffalo, Dragons and Pixius. Smaller items of just about anything you could imagine. The finish wasn't as good on most things as I  was used to with New Zealand Jade, and the colour was insipid in contrast to New Zealand's vibrant greens. In the end we couldn't find anything we couldn't live without. The Orange jade was stunning. Considering we saw plenty of Jade all over China, none of it was cheap, except at the markets. Jade dealers in Malls usually traded at extortionate prices. We did find some marvelously carved and finished green marble Pixiu figurines at Marble Mountains at Da Nang in Vietnam. The jade products here, appeared to be too expensive to us. We were to find later, cheaper jade at old markets in Xi'an, Yangshuo and Kunming. The Jade factory did provide a very nice lunch however.

On our way again we next visited the Ming Tombs complex and the Sacred Road. 
The first 15th Century tombs are set in a peaceful and placid valley. We had the place to ourselves almost. The Museum Hall of Yongle was wonderful to visit. We wandered up to his tomb hill in the quiet sunny afternoon enjoying the peace and quiet. We had a great time buying souvenirs here such as the wonderful fur hats and army caps, badges, soapstone artifacts, bronze and brass nic-nacs etc. There was no pressure here and we were able to look all over the tables of nic and knac and bric and brac. in blissful peace.

The Sacred Road or Sacred Way was another beautiful and quiet place. Built as part of a 7 km. entrance way to the tombs. There are 36 stone statues of Officials, Soldiers, Animals and Mythical Beasts along the way and a large Tortoise carrying a large Stele stone in a Building at the end with a few beautiful Obelisks about too. They look like marble. With the Sun lowering in the sky, It was very sheltered and peaceful here.

After a lovely day in the Chinese countryside we went off home for an enjoyable evening around Joy City and the Hotel.

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