a little detour on the way home

Why didn't we fly home on the 12th via the first flight we could take to get back to the East coast?

Well...we had places to go.

Actually, just one place.

You see, we had the opportunity to visit one of the worlds' best known landmarks with our four oldest children two years ago.

summer 2011

That picture hangs as a 16 x 20 in the entrance foyer of our house.

Not knowing when, or even if, we'll be back, we decided to make sure we could replace that photo with one of all five kids.

After all, we don't want Natalie asking what was up with that when she's a few years older.

And trust me, with what we've witnessed of her spicy personality, she would have been asking, "So I'm Chinese too.  Why did you take my brothers and sisters but not me to China's best known landmark?"

So we did.

The visibility was what it was.  Could have been better.

Could have been a whole lot worse.

We headed back out to Mutianyu.  It is further out than Badaling, but that means less other tourists and more impressive scenery.  Ian and I have visited three sections of the wall and this is by far our favorite.  You can take a ski lift, a gondola or walk up and all three of those methods are available for coming well as the tobaggan (which we didn't get to do, we didn't have a high enough adult to kid ratio...something to come back for later in life, right?)

Even though it was both grandmas, Caleb, Darcy & Daniel's second visit to the wall, Kylie's third, Ian's fourth, and my is still pretty mind blowing impressive.  Yes, there is a dark side to the construction of the wall, David our guide even openly admitted that, but still, to see it snaking off in the distance on the mountains is amazing.

We walked and we rested. We walked more and rested more.  We walked a little more and we...well, you get the idea.

And importantly, we got the photo.

Too bad we didn't check for open eyes, everyone looking, no goofy expressions before we left.  This is the best we got with the wall in the background and all five facing toward us.

But they were there...

**September 12, 2013**
ps ~ For any headed to Beijing and needing a tour guide.  I can't recommend David enough.  He was very knowledgeable, GREAT with our kids (you can see him holding Daniel's hand in the top photo), easy to work with, spoke very clear English, and was comparatively inexpensive.  We all enjoyed our day with him!  If you're headed over and need a BJ guide, I'll happily pass his contact information on to you.  


Grandma Shultz said...

Oh, what a trip. Love the pictures. I want one of each of your photos from the trip - yes, one of every single one, PLEASE.

The Great Wall is so impressive. Am delighted that you have it recorded that Natalie did get to see the Wall.

Julie said...

I LOVE these pics. So sweet. And I will have to remember your favorite part of the wall, for when we go back one day :)

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Love it! I have seen so many people not take time to explore the culture, but I think it is so important. I am sure it was a scarifice financially, but I think you would probably agree with me that it is so worth it!

Traci Cline said...

Those are some great views from that location! And some great pictures!!

anything but LoKEY said...

Oooooh! Great recommendation on both the section of the wall to visit that works for kids (the last one we went to...not so much), and for the guide info. I may be contacting you. Again, not because I'm going back of anything.... ;)