Supposedly in Beijing you can let fireworks off in the street for 5 days from the start of the spring festival or New Year. Whatever the rules are friday was the last day. It started by some enormous bang at 7.30am and got progressively madder until the evening. By this point it looked and sounded like shock and awe over bagdad. They were everywhere, it was both thrilling and a tad scary.
During the day we were taken on a 2 hour ride to a much quieter stretch of the great wall. We had not given the Wall as much attention as the Square and Palace. We should have, it was stunning. The section we went to in Jinshanling was way away from the usual bus tours, and for an hour it was just us. So quiet and very cold. There was snow on the ground and the air was crisply clean. Our sore throats disappeared.
The wall started being built in 250BC but most of what we were standing on went back to probably the Ming dynasty 15th century. It must have taken serious effort to build, and as our guide mentioned, is the worlds longest cemetary.
Its seriously steep where we were and portions of it felt like an extended stair master session. We walked and climbed for a couple of hours and then went back down to the local village for lunch. Stewed beef, potatoes, egg dumplings, chinese cabbage. Lovely.
Both of us slept all the way back. Brilliant day.