Instead celebrating one of my favorite holidays eating an elaborate meal, we are giving thanks by visiting our fourth communist country for the year! (Vietnam, Laos, and North Korea-it counts because I walked to the far end of the meeting room at the JSA!)
We’ve been in China a few times for layovers and spent a weekend in Hong Kong, but this is the first time we will really be getting out and exploring. However, we are just visiting Beijing. A year ago we really tried to make a trip to central China happen. We wanted to tour the national parks, but found the process and planning a bit to overwhelming to make it work then. Luckily, our China visas are good for ten years (!), so we can return to that trip in the future!
We are spending Thanksgiving weekend exploring Beijing and the Great Wall. We have a tour booked to hike up an older, less visited portion of the wall, and then we will make our way to the restored touristy section. It’s supposed to be a full day of hiking, and the older section is going to be strenuous. I’m slightly apprehensive of how difficult the hike will be. However, I know that it will just be one day, and after 9 days hiking to Annapurna, I think I can handle one tough day on the Great Wall!
We also will spend the better part of one day in the Forbidden City. We will split the remaining time between Tiananmen Square, the hutongs (old alleyways), and possibly the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and the Mao Mausoleum. Food wise, I’ve been given recommendations on a great Peking duck restaurant, and I want to find some good dumplings. When we were in Hong Kong I found a chicken foot in my soup, so I might be a little more cautious on murky soups.
It’s supposed to be ridiculously cold though. Highs in the low 20s. I sent Jared a screenshot of the weather forecast, and he didn’t understand why I was so worried. Then he realized that it was 20 Fahrenheit, not Celsius!
I am excited to see the Great Wall most of all and a little surprised that we have put it off so long in our travels. We are doing this trip mostly because we knew we couldn’t leave Asia without going to see this wonder of the world. However, this is our second to last trip from Korea, and it’s just another reminder that our time here is coming to an end. We will come back from China and only have 5 days in Korea before we leave on our epic final vacation (more to come soon!).