Thursday, 20 June 2013

Day 117: Datong to Xuanhua service centre - Thurs 20 Jun, 2013

Day 117: Datong to Xuanhua service centre - Thurs 20 Jun, 2013
Overcast and cool, delightful to snuggle back down and not get up immediately (even though our personal little crowd was waiting outside for us...)

Walked perimeter of our slice of Great Wall (think it is the inner wall, the inside fortress which is the last place to fall in an invasion). Followed a local track to scale it, finding it crumbly in some places and hard to get a firm hold. BoyRob spotted a pottery shard embedded in Wall.



Back inside the compound, walked through village, crops dry, intriguing hole in wall boarded over. Old sluice, well and drainage channels for irrigation no longer used. Stone wheel for grinding grain, goats in tight enclosure. 





Said farewell to the children, donkeys, sheep and goats.... 



Exited through arch, lining up to take photos of all vehicles and owners outside gate (to great entertainment of locals!) 
No Miles, more this way....

There's one in every bunch...

Heading for Champing on the outskirts of Beijing, we set off to find more Great Wall remnants along way.
Lining up for the car wash
Hand wash option

Stopped for scenic lunch, found wall going up side of hill (with coal trains running through). Walked up in hills behind for best views. Copied Marina's photos of us (everyone realising we will soon be going our different ways and wanting to swap books and photos).

Wow - first real view of Great Wall marching over hills
Line of Wall snaking into distance (viewpoint over our lunch site)

4 carriages required to pull this coal train

On way back to main road, looped past an old village (probably housed coal workers in its day) with rounded cave-like houses and inquisitive donkey.  


Hit grazing country - almost unheard of! Vast open green plains up to the edges of mountains, water meandering through. No fences though, and a herder for every cattle/ goat herd or flock of sheep. Single donkeys tethered throughout, used to pull carts and farming machinery/ implements or carry loads of sand, rocks, cement and vegetables. Passing many mud and brick villages, each with walls, courtyards and archway entrances. Saw what could easily be world’s longest coal train with two middle engines to supplement those upfront. Saw sign "coal supervising station" (of course you wouldn't want all those black lumps misbehaving in the back of trucks would you??) Very heavy wide load on low-loader being pushed from behind by another truck (only in China!)

Pulled into Xuanhua service centre to camp. Light rain fell whilst having dinner in the diner - will we miss the salty pork and oily eggplant when we leave China??

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