This time our trip to Beijing was only short-lived because the main focus lay on the Silk Road. Therefore on our last day Sylvia and I, although we had visited Beijing in previous years and most of the sights were well-known to us, went to see the Chinese Wall. What we both missed on our “list” was a renovated part of the wall, a not-restored part we both had seen.
The way to Badaling was supposedly easy with the metro and the train (Beijing North train station). Not so easy was then to find our way inside the train station though. Up and down and up again we went. Eventually we figured out that with a metro pass we could enter the train station if there was enough money on the card. Apparently at the train station you cannot buy a ticket for Badaling but rather the Chinese want you to go by bus. I on the other hand wanted to avoid the bus at all costs since I had heard numerous stories last year about scams on said bus route.
Finally we made it on the train with an awful lot of other day tourists. Once we arrived it was raining and first of all we needed to get some rain coats which were conveniently sold right at the exit of the train station. The buses out front turned out to be shuttle buses and I can’t tell you how glad I was to have convinced Sylvia to get on. Because the bus dropped us right at the cable car station (please note that the cable car is from Doppelmayr, as Austrian – Swiss company).
Since it was raining harder we took the cable car without even thinking twice. I was probably still exhausted from the day before. Once we were up we took some pictures, walked up and down a bit (the wall around Badaling is super steep), took some more pictures and left. The weather was making us miserable as well as the tourists everywhere.
The way back was almost uneventful except getting yelled at on the bus for at least two minutes until someone deigned to explain us that we should not be on the bus with our rain coats on. How were supposed to know when the driver was just yelling in Chinese? In the end we made it back to the North Train Station in Beijing and upon arrival heard this lovely music. Still funny just listening to it.
Instead of rushing back to the Hutong to grab our backpacks we now had time for a lunch at the food court of the train station. Another adventure was in store for us because we of course got our lunch first, then lined up to pay only to then learn that you had to get a pre-paid card first. So we left our lunch at the cash register, got the pre-paid card, went back for the lunch to learn we didn’t have enough money on the card. We then went back to put more money on the card, got the lunch which was already cold by then and when I finally sat down to eat it, it was not great either. So much for food courts in Beijing.
But all this stress paid off because I could take a nap before going to the airport which was by far the best part of the day. With our backpacks then we took the metro and the train to get back to the airport and to meet Babsi. Just looking at Sylvia here makes me sweat again. all that stuff that we carried around with us. I think she was happy because she was leaving Beijing behind her.
We left at 19:35 for Urumqi where we were picked up on time by our driver. The guided tour had officially started and we were on our way to see the Silk Road. More about our adventures there coming soon. Yours, Pollybert