Day 12: Beijing – Great Wall

We have saved the best to the last. Even though everyone was very tired after last night’s concert in Tianjin, when we returned to our Beijing hotel passed midnight, we are excited to see the Great Wall today. We headed out to one of the Great Wall sections near Beijing after breakfast. On our way we stopped at a jewel workshop and showroom specialized in jade. Everyone learned something about quarry of this precious stone in China and many bought gifts for their moms and/or sisters. It was very sweet.

After lunch, we arrived at Juyong Guan (or Juyong Pass) section of the Great Wall about 60 km from Beijing. The pass is one of the three greatest mountain passes of the Great Wall of China. Straddling the famed pass are two sections of the Great Wall. The scenery is beautiful and majestic, though the ever-present heavy fogs somewhat limited visibility in the distance. Most GDYO musicians set out to climb the wall on the east side of the pass. The steps were steep. After more than an hour strenuous climb, many students made it to the highest point and the end of this section of the Great Wall. We took many photos that attest to the exuberance of GDYO musicians.

The high spirit continued into the farewell dinner in the evening and we had the famed Peking duck. It was delicious. Today is also the birthday of Alice Zhao, GDYO bassist. Our tour guides, Spike, Glen and Bruce, as well as Page from Classical Movement surprised us with a huge birthday cake and a spontaneous celebration. It was simply wonderful.

– Hong Zhang, GDYO 2015 China Tour Chaperone

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