We started the day early by leaving the hotel at 8:30 am so that we could beat the traffic heading to the Great Wall, as it was Monday and many other tourist attractions were closed that day. After an hour and a half long bus ride to the small village below the wall, we then had to take another 10 minute shuttle bus to the wall... BUT WAIT! There’s more!
We then had to make the long climb up the many stairs leading to the base of the Great Wall in the oppressive heat, (a few in the group took the gondola up to the wall). After reaching the base of the wall we got an astounding view of the surrounding landscape with mountains and trees seeming to reach out forever. You could still see the holes where boiling water or oil would be poured on people attempting to climb the wall. Walking on the wall was very difficult as it was very steep. The views of the wall continued through the landscape as far as the eye could see. It was incredible!
After spending a little over an hour on the Wall we all descended, some of us taking a break to snack on some candies Walt had brought with him. Reaching the bottom we were exhausted. We then took the shuttle bus back where had lunch above a jade store. Walt and I haggled a pair of sunglasses down from 360 to 85 kuai. After that we took another 90 minute bus ride to the Olympic stadium in Beijing.
The Birds nest was a very big stadium with a total of five floors of bleachers. George, Mark and Henry got the attention of the security guards several times by stepping onto the track. We later spent time at the very top of the stadium just talking and hanging out. A Rivers family was traveling in Beijing and joined us for dinner. We got to eat Peking duck whose skin is the best part. Once at the hotel, people in our group were both sad and excited to head back to Boston. -Oliver Boisvert