… and still torrential rain as we arrived in Beijing. Slightly anxious moment at the airport where I worried I might not find the group I was travelling with, so many people, but of course they stood out as as interestingly miscellaneous bunch of people with massive walking boots, unwieldly rucksacks and ridiculous (Marie Curie Charity) daffodil badges and tee-shirts. Transported to a hotel located in a hutong right in the central district, so amazing location from which to get very very wet. Hid in a shopping mall for most of the time. Then off the next day to the Wall, about 3 hours on a coach, and still a boundary to the Beijing region (we crossed backwards and forwards across the security barrier many times). First 'authentic' meal by which I mean away from the extravagant glitz and enormity of Beijing, with everything much more basic and grubby. Also reminder of the ubiquitous thermos flask (for tea), plastic bowl (for washing) and requirement for a personal toilet paper supply and a good sense of humour around toilet facilities.
Followed by amazing 'practice' walk, steeply up and then along beside the wall for a few hours. Beautiful.