It was a hot one today – 102 degrees! Though hot, we really enjoyed seeing The Great Wall and Olympic Village. Today also marked our first day of authentic meals (lunch and dinner). The meals were served “family style” with large bowls in the center of the table. Our guide, Gloria helped to order. We asked what her favorite food is, and she said “bullfrog”. She was dead serious and fortunately for us, it wasn’t that authentic! But as we sat, talked and ate, we observed sweet interactions with the surrounding tables as families and friends shared food, told stories, laughed and played games. Our hearts and minds were filled with joy, knowing Violet will soon share in that experience.
We are also sharing this portion of the trip with a great couple (pictured above). Experiencing this journey with another couple is a blessing.
The Great Wall
Climbing the Great Wall was spectacular. And steep! On the way there, Gloria asked if we wanted to take the lighter route or to take the steeper route. We (and the other couple in our travel group) emphatically said the steeper one. Then we pulled into the parking lot. The mixture of heat, stairs, and elevation – especially for our sea-level legs – was tough. But boy, the views were worth it.
The Great Wall is such an incredible feat of engineering and construction. To think that this man-made structure is almost 2,000 years old is insane. We were impressed not only with the age of the wall but with how was built on such rugged and steep terrain. The elevation made for awesome views. There were several fortress towers along the way, offering much-needed breaks and views of layered mountain ranges.
The Olympic Village
China doesn’t seem to do anything small. The Olympic Village is impressive. We walked about half of Olympic Boulevard, seeing the iconic Birds Nest National Stadium and the Aquatic Center known as the Water Cube. We imagined how it must have felt for the World’s greatest athletes to walk the Boulevard and compete in such grand structures.
As we settle down to rest up for one more day of site seeing, we are thankful for these few days and the mental break that they offer. Of course, we miss the kiddos at home, and our hearts race with an excitement of finally being in the same country as Violet, but these few days are special days with Nicole. The anticipation of what to come is great, but the present moment is just as sweet.
Enjoy some pictures below: