I think I experienced the best weather-day since living here on Friday, September 9. Lucky for us, our girls’ school had a day off for professional development (sorry, teachers…really, I am!). But for us, we were able to make an impromptu trip to Mutianyu when the weather – against the forecast of rain – turned out to be absolutely beautiful.
I’ve never personally driven to Mutianyu. I took our trusted GPS, but computerized-Jane didn’t quite get the road names right, nor did she know how to get around a detour. But we weren’t flustered and were able to make it there just fine. Being a weekday, there simply was not a crowd. Parking was easy, and there were no lines to wait in for tickets, cable cars or anything. Perfect!
THIS was the day to take pictures, and I must have taken hundreds. When we all came to Mutianyu before, we knew our girls would only want to take the chair lift up and the slide down after walking a short distance. This time, we took the cable car up, forcing us to make a longer walk to the slide reward at the end. It’s doable, of course, even if you’re out of shape. But expect jiggly legs by the end, and muscle reminders the next day that you did a lot of climbing and walking.
I was so in awe of the clear skies, beautiful mountain landscapes and the endless winding wall that I didn’t realize you could actually see the skyline of Beijing up there. My husband neglected to tell me until we were at the bottom, but that’s ok. Aside from possibly being pleasantly surprised that you could see so clearly, I rather enjoyed the nature of the day instead. We certainly weren’t alone in our travels, as we ran into friends and neighbors who decided to take advantage of the great day, too.
I’ve always wanted to visit The Schoolhouse for lunch, and we were able to do that while eating outside in the courtyard. It simply didn’t disappoint. Lunch options were plentiful, including daily specials (and a cream of broccoli soup that was out of this world). While slightly on the more expensive side – sandwiches averaged about RMB 80 – it was something to enjoy as a treat and it wouldn’t discourage me from going again. A visit inside the glass shop and being able to watch the glass blowers was pretty fun, too. And picking up a brochure about the rental cabins available makes me feel like maybe there could be a weekend trip in our future. I hope so, and I hope the weather is just as nice as it was that day.
I guess the point is this: If it’s a beautiful day and you have the time, make every effort to visit these outdoor sights. The Wall, Fragrant Hills, Summer Palace – you name it. On days like this, it’s more than worth switching your schedule around to fit it in. You’ll be glad you did.