The hutongs (via rickshaws)

A hutong is a collection of low courtyard houses connected with narrow alleys and passageways.  They are traditional Beijing houses, but have mostly been demolished to provide more modern (and usually multi-story) flats.

Some hutongs are now protected from demolition.  We were transported into the hutong by pedal-powered rickshaws, and were then given lunch (and a fantastic lunch it was too) by a local family.

The owner kindly passed round his pet crickets for us to look at - they keep them for their sounds, and he told me they usually live for about 100 days.

A little boy and his granny wave to us as we head back to the bus.

The Great Wall of China

Loads of snaps here - none of which show how bloody knackering this thing was to climb!

The part we went up appeared to be the first bit of wall on the road out of Beijing [Edit: later discovered it is called JuYongGuan Pass], so it was very busy.  We arrived at 8am, and it got a LOT busier as the day went on, so we were lucky really.  It was as steep a climb as I have ever made on stairs - some steps were almost up to my knee, where others were no higher than my foot.  A real mix.

I reckon I ascended about 1,380 feet in all - it took just under an hour, and about 1½ litres of water!

The Bird's Nest Stadium, and the Water Cube

The area from the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics is still very popular with visitors.  The Bird's Nest Stadium is very impressive - just as expected from the TV coverage.  This area of the city is vast, and seems even bigger as all the main roads in and around it are now just for pedestrians, which looks odd, as all the over-head road signs are still there.

Quite a lot of police, I noticed.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

This lovely looking all-wooden building is in the park mentioned in my earlier post.  It has no nails or screws in its construction, and has survived many earthquakes that have flattened surrounding Beijing, owing to its flexible design.

Peking Duck

Or Beijing Duck as our local guide called it, but that's another story.  It took our skilled bus driver to get us there on time thanks to a nine-point turn on a blocked highway.  This was our farewell to China!