China Tour 2013
April 10th – 23rd, 2013
 


April 13th
This morning after breakfast we left to visit the Sacred Way and the great wall at Mutianyu. We switched the visits around so that we could see the wall in the afternoon when not so busy. Most of the tour buses visit in the morning. The drive was all through a major growing area. Fruit trees were everywhere. Fiji apples, Honeydew peach, pears, plums and grapes are grown here. We even saw fresh strawberries in baskets sold along the road. They must have been special strawberries as they were in these long skinny boxes, nestled in some kind of paper and packed about 10 to a box.

Our visit to the Sacred Way or Spirit Way was wonderful. We were the first in the gate and no one else was there until we left. It was magical. Lined on either side with guardian animals and officials and backed by weeping willows just beginning to show their colour. . Soft music was playing in the background which just added to the peaceful walk. The whole walk is seven miles but we didn’t walk the whole way. You could just imagine an Emperor being carried along by many men as he made his way to his final resting place. His tomb would be all ready for him as he spent many years preparing for this event. Built from 1409 to 1644 and spanning over 230 years, the Thirteen Tombs of Beijing buried altogether 13 emperors, 23 empresses, two crowned princes, 30-odd imperial concubines, and a eunuch, making it a comparatively well-preserved mausoleum in the world with the largest number of emperors buried. Zhaoling Tomb, ranked the ninth, is the most complete and representative ground burial palace among the thirteen tombs…this is the one we visited. It is said that he had buried with him 6 concubines.
Emperors had many concubines when they were alive. They ranged in age from 13 to 19 years old and were picked every three years.
 
After lunch at the Schoolhouse Restaurant – excellent I might add..a western meal with a twist, we visited the great wall at Mutianyu…we could not have picked a more perfect day. I have seen a few different parts of the wall over the years and this was my second time here. Last time it was very hazy but this time it was perfect. You could see for miles so I was extremely happy for the group visiting today. The long wall as it is called locally exists from the Ming Dynasty in this area. You see it has been around since 221 when it was first united by the Qin. He was a great man but a very cruel man. Many died building the wall and are buried inside. You likely know the spots where they have been buried because that is where the wall is widest. It extends for about 3300 miles and in some places there is more than one wall – 2 or even 3 walls for defense - and the wall was built with different materials depending on the region. For example the Gobi desert was built with sand and straw so much of it has disappeared. Here it is built with clay and bricks and forced labour was used to build it. Stone was used inside the wall and it was covered in bricks and in some areas 5 horses can ride along the top of it side by side with riders. When the workers, usually farmers, were called to work and if they didn’t show up on time they were killed…one such group could not make it in time because of floods and because they knew they would be killed decided to revolt and from our guide we hear that that was the time the dynasty fell.

After this we stopped by a cloisonné factory to be shown how it is made - a very labour intensive effort - then we were off to the airport to board our short flight to Xi’an.
 

 
 

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row