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Once upon a time there were two dragons. The dragons were brothers. One was white, the other was black.

As they grew older they decided that their home was too small for them, so they went their separate ways. The black dragon worked hard to make his new home beautiful, a place of lushness with trees, springs, waterfalls and pools, a place that would bring life and goodness to the people who lived there.

The mountain god saw his hard work and gifted him a string of 18 pearls which he threw into the valley that the black dragon was working hard to make into a place of beauty. Read the rest of this entry »



Today the trek moved firmly onto the restored Wall in Mutianyu.

The Chinese government has spent time and cash restoring many parts of the Great Wall, turning them into incredibly busy tourist spots. We were told that the part of the wall we were tackling today was favoured by Hollywood celebrities.

We didn’t see any.

What we did see were thousands of Chinese tourists, young and old.

En route to the day’s trek, one of our guides, Michael, explained the Chinese policy of “birth control”, the idea being that since the 70s Chinese couples are only allowed one birth. He explained that while this idea was to control population, the country has gone from 700 thousand inhabitants to over 1 billion in 35 or so years.

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Warming Up and Setting Off

Our journey towards our first day of trekking started on the coach as we ventured out into traffic so heavy that it was featured on CNN News. What should have been a journey lasting 30 minutes at most, dragged to well over 90 minutes.

That’s what happens when a country with over a billion inhabitants starts a national holiday. Read the rest of this entry »

A little bit of History

“After breakfast we transfer to the Juyongguan section of the Wall. Juyong was constructed in the 5th century and rebuilt a thousand or so years later by the Ming Dynasty. It is considered to be one of the most strategically important parts of the wall because of its link with Beijing. After lunch, we make our way to the un-restored part of Badaling Great Wall for our afternoon trek.

These two sections today are a tough warm-up for our first day on the wall as it is steep in places. From the high points of the Wall the views of misty mountains fade far into the distance. Once finished we transfer back to our hotel for our second night.”

Why do you trek…

People have different reasons for venturing on international fundraising trips for St Andrew’s Hospice. For Liz she decided she didn’t want the “usual rubbish” for her birthday. Instead she asked family and friends to donate to her Just Giving fund so that she could raise funds for the hospice and trek the Great Wall? Her birthday? A very youthful 70.

Looking back on that decision, she’s very grateful for the moral, as well as monetary, support she received from family and friends. “They just told me to go for it,” Liz recalls.

Why is Just Giving so helpful?

Liz noted that her son, daughter-in-law and grand kids could easily take part in sending her this birthday trip of a lifetime. You can still get involved by donating to this trek’s Just Giving page.  Click here;

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