I returned from Beijing to base camp in Zunhua on Saturday. The bus ride was surprisingly fast and comfortable. No queues, no smoking inside the bus – all went to plan. I hope that is a good sign for the rest of my walk.
On Sunday I walked 15 kilometres by the Great Wall. It felt good to be back, and I set off up a steep and long hill on the Great Wall. After only a few minutes, I was gasping after air. Looks like the forced six weeks of rest have had quite an impact on my stamina. But I don’t think it will take too long to get back in super duper shape.
It felt good to have the Great Wall under my feet again. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and it got well over 30C. There was a slight wind and unlike July and August, the wind actually cools you down now. I had decided not to overdo things, and when I reached the construction site of a 8 lane motorway, I decided to walk on it to a place where I could get back to Zunhua. The guys working on the massive motorway said it went all the way to Shenzhen which is the next door neighbour of Hong Kong! I was impressed.
There have been some media articles lately about never ending queues on Chinese roads. With such a growth in the traffic and such a large population, it is hard to keep up with the road building. But China is probably the place on earth right now where most new roads are being built.
The day after the walk my foot, or big toe joint was more sore than usual. I have decided to wait until tomorrow to push on. Have been studying the maps for the next stretch. It will take me past a section of the Great Wall that my brother, two friends and I visited 12 years ago. The place is called Panjiakou and is very special because the Great Wall (and lots of small villages) have been submerged by water from a large dam. 12 years ago, we stayed a couple of nights at Panjiakou and made friends with a Chinese family. I hope they are still living there!