Friday, May 2, 2008

Off to the Ranch

So close your eyes and imagine a Manchurian hunting lodge nestled beside the Great Wall of China. Think about wild horses and barking dogs and the smell of smoky Mongolian BBQ. Think about still waters and stone walkways and pagoda lanterns lighting your pathway. That's where we stopped next after staying a night in downtown Beijing.

I spoke too soon. Internet service became really spotting after leaving central Beijing so my posts are a little behind. So to catch you up on my travels, we decided to go about an hour north of downtown Beijing and stay at this fantastic ranch in Yanxi Township, Huairou District. Naturally staying at this ranch brought little desire to get online. It felt like I was miles north in Mongolia, but this place is still technically in Beijing. The city of Beijing is huge, it just never ends.

The whole idea behind this place is to take ruins from buildings torn down and integrate them into this hotel. Above is our own little lodge we stayed in for two days.

So we loved the idea that this place preserve relics and pieces of buildings that have been torn down over the years. There are actual parts of the Great Wall dating to the first emperor Qin Shi Huangdi that are in this former hunting lodge horse stable and animal sighting pavilion. This is where we ate all our meals.

As you can see, it was a beautiful retreat from the crazy crowds on the more touristy parts of the Great Wall. Though our toilet broke and the bed was rock hard, and I couldn't bare to hear more new age Mongolian horse music while eating my meals, you can't beat staying at a place like this and feeling so far away from New York City.

And, certainly nothing can describe climbing the Great Wall and seeing this amazing structure. I didn't once think about my "Great Uterine Wall" when looking out across this vast wonder. That's progress.


pamela.ilovemcdreamy said...

Hi there
I've been reading your blog off and on and just wanted to say hi.

Like you, I've been on this ttc journey for almost 2 years and it hasn't been easy.

Glad to see that you're having a great time in Beijing. I've been to Shanghai, tho and from your pictures, I'd love to visit Beijing one day.

Melanie said...

Wow. I have never been to China. So I thank you for packing me along with you. It sounds like this has been a much needed respite for you, despite the Mongolian horse whisperers or some such nonsense. Looking forward to more updates.

shinejil said...

I love how Chinese entrepreneurs are having a blast with Manchu and Mongol culture.

But that said, this was one of the prettiest hotel-type places I've seen. How lucky you were, despite the endless whine of the horsehead fiddle, to spend some time among such storied stones!

Fertilized said...

wow what a beautiful place!

luna said...

how very cool! wonderful pix and sounds like a wonderful escape. thanks for sharing! ~luna

alicia said...

WOW! Such a spectacular place. It sounds like this land is beginning to heal you which is go great! What an experience.

Amy said...

Wow I had no idea China would be so beautiful!

apronstringsemily said...

beautiful pics! one day I hope to make it to china. thanks for sharing!