Dear Matt and Mar,
It was a bit of a task arranging a trip to the Great Wall, as the only way to get there was by car (70+ Kms). Trip Advisor was a great help, after a long while we’ve managed to find a reputable car and driver service, and after sending a short email, all was arranged.
The destination was Mutianyu, I had chosen this site because it also offers extra activities that you two should love, Toboggan and Cable car. Imagine tobogganing from the Great Wall, wow, even I was looking forward to that, lol, the cable car would have been fun too, just imagine all the photos opportunities.
We had chosen to come here on a Sunday this was purely because on Monday all the other main attractions, such as Forbidden City and others would be closed, meaning a large crowd would be coming to the Great Wall.
The car arrived promptly at 08:30, but the driver and the car was not the same as in the email, well, small detail (at least he had my name written on a card), the driver was around 50-ish, and spoke some English, haa haa haa.
The drive was going to take around 1.5 hour, during our drive to Mutianyu, a light drizzle started to fall, looking on the positive side, at least it won’t be hot, lol. As we approached Mutianyu, we noticed some commotion in front, only to discovered that Mutianyu was closed for the day, apparently the previous evening there was a heavy rainfall, and there was a risk of some mud/landslide... wow... what are we going to do now?
Luckily, the driver had alternative plan (the decision to pay a little extra for the trip had paid off, lol), there was no hesitation, he turned to us and told us not to worry, all we could do was to trust him, haa haa haa.
About half an hour later we arrived at ‘Huanghuacheng’, this place is not well known to the overseas tourists at all, and that was obvious as there were none the usual tourists amenities, in fact without the local knowledge one could have driven past without knowing there was an entrance to the Great Wall.
It was secluded, quiet, authentic and it was perfect! Even the path to the wall was akin to a scene from Tomb Raider (even the driver had to guide us to the entrance), haa haa haa haa haa. The only downer was the weather, heavy mist had fallen so getting a good shot was a bit of a pain, but that was a small issue, the serenity made up for absolutely everything, it was fantastic.
The visitors were light, most of the time we didn’t see anyone, and so we began to climb, each time we get to a new tower or a hump of the wall, you two wanted to move on expecting to see the end, only to be amazed that the wall would continue, haa haa haa.
We’d spent almost 3 hours just walking up further and further... in some part we had to crawl on all four (well I did anyway, lol). Eventually enough was enough, it was time to turn back, walking down some steep slopes was harrowing, haa haa haa.
By the time we reached the car, my old legs were shaking! By then it had already gone way past noon, so where to eat? At the base of the wall there were a couple of restaurants, but very local, the driver knew them all well enough to call them friends, haa haa haa. So it made sense just to eat here.
Their menu had some photos, that helped so much, haa haa haa, the driver also helped even Google Translate helped too (Omlet), lol. It was lovely! The drive back was serene, serene enough for me to fall asleep most of the way, lol.
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When we got back, it was still mid afternoon, so we had time to explore a little more of the city, and after looking at the map we’d decided to take a short walk to China World Mall, your mother was hoping to find a better supermarket so that she could try more of the local ingredients.
China World Mall didn’t disappoint, it contains ranging from top high end brands to affordable premium, haa haa haa, but most importantly there was a huge supermarket in the basement, but it did take a while to find, being that I took you all the wrong way, haa haa haa.
Carrying back all the shopping was a bit challenging, haa haa haa, but it was all worthwhile though, the feast your mother managed to conjure up was superb.