Saturday, September 06, 2008

Wo Ai Zai Zhongguo Zuo Huoche (I Love Train Travel in China)

It all started with our overnight soft-sleeper ride to Shanghai, but doesn't end there. When we were deciding our mode of transport to the Great Wall this morning, Steve happened upon a website that told about a train that goes from downtown Beijing out to Badaling. While Badaling is the touristy part of the Great Wall (we prefer the crumbling to the restored), we figured it would be a good reintroduction.

Step onto the S2. For 17 kuai per person (less than three dollars), you get clean, comfy seats that partially recline and swivel. A large window allows you to watch all the sights (including gorgeous mountain views and "appetizer" glimpses of the Wall itself) and no traffic! The ride takes just over an hour.

When you arrive at the station, you are greeted by a huge statue of Genghis Khan (not sure of the significance here). It is a short walk, around 700 meters, to the entrance of the Great Wall at Badaling.

Train travel is really the way to go here. The kids only wish that they would build a line from our house to BISS!


PS: Walking back to the station afterwards, we were sent off by a camel and his owner, apparently returning home after a long day's work. Now that's something you don't see on Amtrak!


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