The Great Wall

We took a day trip to the Great Wall.  Here we are, looking sharp.

What isn't always obvious about the Wall is how steep it is in many places.  It makes sense, since it goes up and over mountains all the time.

This picture shows how the wall continues on over the mountain tops, off into the distance.

Finally, a downhill section.

This is what the Wall looks like just beyond the section where tourists are allowed.  It's much narrower and not as well maintained.

Here's another view of the serpentine Wall.

As you can see, there were many people visiting the Wall that day.

Here is where I waited for a few minutes and finally gave up making it further along the Wall.  
There weren't any metering lights on, apparently, because it was tourist gridlock.

于家村 Yujiacun - Hebei Province - Stone Village

The villiage of Yujiacun is famous for its stone streets, houses, and walls. The village is over 500 years old and still looks much the same as when it was first built.  This is the gate to the city.

Angela walking down from the gate.

Stone streets and walls.

We took a tour from a local guide that included entrance to some local homes.  This is the main courtyard in a traditional house.

This is the open-air kitchen of the same house.

Nice stone walls again.

正定 Zhengding - Hebei Province

We visited the village of Zhengdeng via a train from Beijing.  As soon as we arrived at this temple, the Lion Dance was going on.

The two guys in the lion suit were very well coordinated on this jump.

Inside the temple, we watched this re-creation of the Emperor visiting the temple.

The costumes were fantastic.

The temple from the outside.

This village is famous for its pagodas.  This one is right down a not-so-pretty alley.  

Angela on the bridge.

Statues and pagodas.

Angela and two statues.

Outdoor pool tables.

China has a very modern train system.  On one of these trains, we went over 200 miles per hour.

平遙 Pingyao - Shanxi Province

Another village, this time Pingyao.  It has many traditional houses (many have been turned into B&B's or restaurants), an intact wall,
and is known for its red lanterns on the streets and in the courtyards.

A Bactrian Camel.  Someone brought it downtown to pose for pictures with people.

The courtyard of a traditional house.  

The living room of that same house.

And the living room in the same house.  The bed is built above a stovepipe, so it's heated int he winter.

This courtyard has fake vines on the roof.

A huge house that's now a big hotel.

A very fancy house.  I stood on the second floor of this building for this view of the courtyard.

A tower on the city wall.

The rooftops of the city.

大連 Dalian - Liaoning Province

We arrived in Dalian as the first stop on our 23 day cruise from Beijing to Vancouver.

Here's our ship, the Diamond Princess, with Paul and Kyle.

Dalian has a lot of turn-of-the-century western architecture, now surrounded by glass and steel modern architecture.