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6th April Beijing/Xian High Speed Train

April 16, 2013

Enjoyed our stay in the capital, could have done with another day. The first day was a bit of a waste as we were tired. Tried the Chinese cuisine at McDonalds, actually it was only coffee, and made up for it when we found this alleyway filled with stalls selling all types of food. There was also an ancient water wheel in the middle of the alley that must have been of some importance as there was a contiinuous group of locals getting their photo taken with it. Unfortunately the sign wasn’t in English.
I am trying to get photos up that go with the text but am having difficulty. May have to post them separately with a caption.
Opposite our hotel is a delightful restaurannt. A little rough around the edges and the service could be described as ‘off hand’ by the couple who run it. Frequented mainly by locals the menu is in English and Chinese with pictures. The naming of the food is quite amusing with dishes  such as ‘Students of Beans’ ‘Intestinal Fortitude’ (offal) and ‘Lovers of Bull Frog’. Tried the duck the first night,, delicious but a little off putting when the last piece I picked up with my chopsticks had a beak and a couple of eyes mournfully staring at me. But the service was quick and the beer cold. What more can you ask for.
Yesterday we took the tour to the Grreat Wall, the tour also included visiting the Sacred Way. The latter was an unexpected pleasure. A 7km tree lined walk where the emperors used to walk with stone animals and characters on either side. With few tourists, we were early it had a certain mystique.
The section of the wall at Badalung is the most visited. We chose the less visited section at Mutianu. The land here is more rugged and the wall more spectacular as it feeds its way along ridges of quite high mountains. We caight the cable car to the first tower then meandered along untiil the going became steeper. Our timing was not the best as it turned out our visit coincided with a 3 day public holiday. But even that being the case there weren’t that many people around.
And so here we are, travelling at 300kph watching the countryside flash by. The ride is smooth, the service good and signage and announcements in both Chinese and English. The land is flat with seemingly most of it used for growing produce for the markets. A range of mountains in the distance. On our last day in Beijing we experienced strong winds that blew a lot of the pollution away. Today it was clear and quite warm. The locals must enjoy it.

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