9th - 12th November 2003

Jining remained frozen so we decided our best move was to go to Beijing for a few days touristing and hope the weather warmed a little. Also we were running low on cash and none of the banks in Jining would give us any money on a Visa card, whereas in Beijing we knew there were international cash machines. We left our bikes in the hotel room in Jining and took a "hard sleeper" overnight to Beijing.

In Beijing we first visited the Forbidden City where the Ming and Qing emperors lived:

Next day we trailed round the shopping looking for a Pinyin road atlas, or something with contours, or maybe just something readable that looked vaguely accurate... We eventually settled for a big atlas that we could cut pages out of to put in our map case, but it was only in Chinese characters and gave no clue as to the whereabouts of the hills.

That eveing we went to an acrobatics display - the cyclists were amazing!

The third day was the best, a walk from Jinshanling to Simatai along the Great Wall. We had good company from people we'd met in the hotel we were staying in, the weather was perfect and the wall itself stunning.

On our last day we visited the Summer Palace, which is set in a beautiful park with a large lake.

Then we took an overnight train back to Jining, which ended with us overshooting Jining by about two hours because we'd been sold a ticket to the wrong place! We hadn't noticed because of course the ticket was all in Chinese and we hadn't studied it carefully enough.

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