The Wodka train tour has officialy ended, today is the first day we can make our own plans, finally the adventure begins!
I've already booked a hostel in advance, it's called "Sitting on the Citywalls of Beijing" (http://www.citywalls.com/) and it's the BEST hostel I've ever stayed in, I wish i could just pack it up and take it with me in my rucksack so I can always stay in it (I tried to upload a video on this blog, but it's not working)
Until now I wasn't able to do any laundry, so I was really happy when the hostel had a laundry service. But at the end of the day, returning from a cold tour of the city in my shorts (it's about 5 degrees), the hostel informs me that their washingmachine has broken down! "Bummer!", I thought... Through the hostel we book a trip to the Great Wall of China, we visit the furthest one, which entails a 10 km hike along the wall (Great Wall of Simatai). As it turns out, when they pick us up early the next morning, it's snowing outside and well below freezing point. I'm soooooo glad I get to wear a (dirty) sweater, (dirty) long pants and (dirty) warm socks!
The drive to the wall takes about 3 hours, and on the way there the weather is getting worse. The tourguide tells us a bit about the trip and the wall: 10 km's long, 32 towers, there is a short cut for those who don't want to do the full hike, don't mind the local people trying to sell stuff, and please try and stick close, you Westerners all look the same to me!
At the beginning I'm seriously considering not getting off the bus, it's just too cold and windy and snowy, but we end up getting of anyway. I'm pretty lucky, some people already threw away their warm coat and shoes a few days ago expecting it to be warmer after Siberia...
You've all seen pictures of The Great Wall before: looking well taken care off, smooth paths, high walls on the side for protection... but that's a different part of the wall than Simatai. This one has none of the above: No restorations, no smooth paths, no walls for protection. A pretty cool and exciting walk on any other day, but today it's slippery and dangerous, one fall and my trip could be over!
In the end I do manage to do the whole hike together with Alan (the rest took the short-cut), and I'm so glad we did it! It was snowy and cold, but we were also the only ones on the wall, not many people can say that! It was exhilarating and a real advertisment for my Nike Air Max (for some reason I decided against my hikingboots to got for a hike that morning, weird). The hike ended with a "fly" down a cable, which I was hooked onto with a rope, great fun!