Beijing and the Great Wall

Today we drove out to the Great Wall. The place we went to is about 90 minutes out of the city and is called Badaling.

The drive was on very modern limited access highways — it reminded me of the NJ Turnpike, since it is a toll road.

When we were almost there, we began to see lots of people in uniforms along the road, and when we got to the Badaling Great Wall area, it was closed to visitors. It turns out that one of the Olympic cycling routes is along there and today was a practice ride.

We were able to go to another nearby section of the Great Wall. It is not restored, and is in an area of modest countryside villages and farms. We parked and then hiked up to the wall. The last climb was up steep stairs — it reminded me of walking up the Statue of Liberty a few years ago.

Once we got to the Wall itself, we walked along the top — it was largely intact, but had fallen stones in many places. It went up and down hills and along ridges — VERY steep terrain. We walked for a while — and got lots of exercise. It is really an incredible military and construction feat.

We spent the afternoon back in Beijing — getting things set for the Olympics. We got our tickets for the Opening Ceremony — it’s tomorrow evening. Everywhere we go there are signs of the Olympic Games being in town.

I am touring the Quintiles Transnational Corporation clinical trials facility tomorrow morning and then visiting with the leadership of Tsinghua University, both here in Beijing.

Stay tuned for more!

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