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More than a few world records - longest wall and largest bird nest - Finnair/Intrepid Travel Fam

24th October 2017 - 4:15pm

Another pic on the wall (or should that be brick!) Raya Santagati (Shandon Travel) with Gina Smyth (Best4Travel)

Another pic on the wall (or should that be brick!) Raya Santagati (Shandon Travel) with Gina Smyth (Best4Travel)

Shane Cullen (Senior Reporter Travelbiz) reports: On day two of our Intrepid Travel, Highlights of China tour, the group set off by private minibus and arrived at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. This is c.70km northeast of central Beijing, in Huairou County. The Mutianyu section is one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall which originally defended the capital and imperial tombs. The wall stretches as far as the eye can see, winding with the landscape, leaving a centuries old mark across the land. It was reminiscent of a medieval castle (to an untrained historian such as myself), with only the watchtowers hinting at the Chinese feat of architecture. At 7.5m high and 5m wide, you can walk along it. Unless you are the kind of person that enjoys a good 10k hike on the weekend, I highly recommend taking the optional cable car that can take some of the hard work out of the trek (adult one-way ticket 100 Yuan (€13)). 


Once you disembark the cable car, there is a three-kilometre section to wander along, taking in this marvel as well as the 360-degree view of China's countryside. Most of the group made it the whole way along the wall but be warned, it is a steep stroll. The little old ladies selling beers at stalls along the side of the wall provided a welcome opportunity to catch our breath and bond over a cold one.


After taking in this Wonder of the World, the group sat down to an included lunch in one of the local restaurants (Chinese cuisine) and hopped back onto the bus to take in the view of the Bejing Olympic stadium, nicknamed ‘The Bird's Nest’. The crowds at the Olympic village highlight how popular this still is with Chinese visitors. The group paused for 20 minutes to enjoy the view of this modern architectural masterpiece before heading back to the hotel. Jay, our guide suggested a 20-minute walk up and back to touch the stadium for luck but being Irish, we thought we had enough luck already!

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Another pic on the wall (or should that be brick!) Raya Santagati (Shandon Travel) with Gina Smyth (Best4Travel)
All aboard the cable car
Catherine Grennell-Whyte (Finnair GSA Ireland) with Sarah McCarthy (Travel Counsellors) on their way up the wall
Padraic Keogh (PK Travel) with our tour guide Jay from Intrepid
James O'Donoghue (USIT) with Sarah McCarthy (Travel Counsellors)
360-degree views all around
Gina Smyth (Best4Travel), Raya Santagati (Shandon Travel), Anthony Efinda (Club Travel), Brendan White (Tropical Sky), James O'Donoghue (USIT) and John McGurk (Intrepid Group)
The gang at The Bird's Nest, Bejing
The Olympic Village
Anthony Efinda (Club Travel) getting his picture taken by the locals for the 10 millionth time
Gina Smyth (Best4Travel) and Sarah McCarthy (Travel Counsellors) always have time for a selfie!
A well-deserved beer at the end of a days sightseeing
Kicking back and enjoying a local band in Beijing

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