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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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Arriving in Beijing, we were struck by the heat and the sunshine. A shock to our Scottish systems…

After a painless flight, an easy stroll through immigration, it was on to collect our bags before liaising with the first of our guides, the ever smiling Harry.

En route to our hotel, the grandly named “Auspicious Business Hotel”, Harry explained that we’re entering into an extended holiday period here in China. From 1st October it’s Mid-Autumn Festival where everyone takes 7 days off work. And everyone tries to either get home to see their parents. If they can’t get home, they call home. Family is very important to the Chinese.

And for most of us, that was on the agenda too, a fact witnessed later that afternoon, evidenced by the clusters of pasty Scots huddled in groups in the hotel foyer, calling home.

Harry related a Chinese joke.

How do you get an elephant into an ice box?

Three steps.

1. Open the icebox
2. Put the elephant in
3. Close the icebox

He said this reflects the Chinese mentality of getting the job done, not focusing on the problems.

And when you think of the engineering feet that is the Great Wall of china, it’s hard to argue with this sensibility.

For most of us, as we wound our way through the busy streets north of Beijing, it’s a mind set we’ll be adopting as our own as we face the physical, mental and emotional challenges of trekking the Great Wall as fund raisers for St Andrew’s Hospice.