China Peony Festival Tour 2015
April 10th - 23rd, 2015


April 13

Woke up to a sunny, very clear but cool day. Our first visit was to one of the most serene places, that of the Sacred Way leading to the Ming Tombs. You start with entering through a huge arch and on the other side you are greeted with a long flat walkway lined on each side with willow trees, in all their spring glory. You keep on walking and enjoying the quietness of the moment, then you start to pass by figures of animals and men, there to guide and protect those on their final journey. The horse represents faithfulness, the elephant peace, the camel is hardworking and the mythical creatures are there to frighten the evil spirits away. The six pair of humans are there to protect from evil, aid in memory and consultants that you might need in the afterlife. Then a short drive to the largest Ming tomb and really the only one opened to the public. You don’t really even see the tomb as it is behind the building that is used to display some of the many pieces of information about the Emperor. It is very informative.

We were now heading to the Great Wall at Mutianyu, my favourite spot from the few that I have visited over the years. It is a bit hard to get to as there is a bit of walking uphill required but it is so worth it as there are not that many that visit this spot compared to the others. From the top we reach the gondola and take that to the wall entrance. Up a short flight of steep steps we are standing on the wall. What a sight to behold, especially since it so clear. You can see it zig zagging in three directions from here and the view is incredible. So glad that all were able to enjoy this ancient wonder.

We enjoyed lunch today at a lovely spot called the School House Restaurant. It used to be a school, now used as this and it also has rooms to rent. There were crayons on the table and those inclined can make a poster on their place mat to leave behind. We made a few and also signed our names to one to leave…a super lunch of organic foods, a great cup of coffee with to die for deserts then it was off to the plane to catch our flight to Xi’an. Arrived around 9:30 p.m. at the hotel, then it was off to bed.

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