June 30, 2019
The first photo was taken the evening of June 30, 2019 after we had dinner at the guest house we had arrived at that noon. This quaint, cozy guest house was in the mountains north of Beijing with a view of the Great Wall of China. The guest house is owned by one Chinese family that has owned the property for around 80 years, and the grandfather who spoke to us has lived there for 57 years.
That night, we hiked up to the Great Wall which took about 25 minutes. The hike was difficult, as it was very steep and slippery at times, and I have to say I took a tumble a few times, as did some others. The further we got up, the more the sun set, and the more everyone was stunned by the majestic beauty of the mountains and the ancient wall crawling through its valleys. The both beautiful and challenging hike led us to one of the lower towers of the wall. Once here, we had to climb up these very steep steps which led us to the place this photo was taken. The sight was breathtaking and no photos can capture it. One of the instructors decided to have the group be silent and to then remain silent the rest of the way down to the guesthouse. So we all took this silence and basked in the rays of the setting sun up on the wall. We then silently hiked back down to the guest house where we were warmly greeted by the mother of the family and her adorable toddler.
The second photo was taken on the morning of July 1 after we had hiked a longer way up to the wall. This was taken as some students were looking out at the wall through one of the arched openings. There was so much to see and personally made me feel very small. After this picture was taken, we walked along the wall and then came to another tower where we heard a story from one of the instructors and took some time to journal. We all used the prompt: “This was the best trip because…”
July 2, 2019
The third picture was taken this morning, July 2, right before we departed from the guesthouse. We all said “谢谢!” (thank you) to the kind family and took a 15 minute walk to the shuttle which we are currently on jamming to 80s pop music on the way to Beijing! Later today one group is visiting Tiananmen Square and 景山（Jing Shan）which is a viewing point of the Forbidden City. The other is visiting The Temple of Heaven and a Muslim mosque.
Thanks to Ava and her awesome photography skills for taking the first two pics! Stay tuned for more yaks!