Breakfast is served in the hotel restaurant until 9 am, so I go there around 8:30. There were several other tables taken, but not too busy. I was shown to the table and after waiting for a while my breakfast arrived. I was given a large wooden box which was divided into 9 boxes of the same size. Each contains a small taster of a different dish. It really is beautifully presented and imaginative. The box contained: corn and pumpkin, beef soup, potatoes and carrots, sausage and onion dishes, onions and peppers, celery, lotus root, green vegetables and peanuts, Chinese pickles with chili paste, and watermelon. I was also given a bowl of millet porridge, boiled eggs, mantou (Chinese steamed bread rolls), and baozi filled with meat (bread dumpling bread). There is also lots of hot tea. The breakfast is delicious and I like variety, it’s great to eat so many different dishes. The breakthrough filled me well, and I didn’t feel too full.
After checking out, I headed to the ‘First Pass Under Heaven’, the main tourist attraction in the city which is located right next to my hotel. is 40 RMB. There are several tour groups around, but nothing is too crazy. Since most people were heading to the main road to look around, I decided to explore the land a little earlier. I am headed to what is a subdivision of the Ministry of War. Shanhaiguan Pass is located on the strategic road of Jieshi Ancient Street and guarding the Liaoxi Corridor. It was built in the early Ming Dynasty and the Subdivision of the Ministry of War was founded there in 1434. The original building was lost, but the replica that I saw was built around 2004. I looked around the Main Hall, where the administration of the problem was handled. I like to see calligraphy, not because I give a hint of what it says and I really like the pictures there. It was nice to roam around small buildings and courtyards because it was really peaceful. Poetry Corridor is a great place too. The corridor wall, which surrounds the courtyard, is covered with ten poems that compliment the views of Pass Shanhaiguan.
I returned to the main part of the complex. I came to the East Gate. This is an important building from that gap, which is probably why so many people take their photos in front of it. I walked through the gate and arrived in a small forest area, it wasn’t very interesting, so I kept walking. Next, I arrived at a small lake, which was rather beautiful. There are quite a number of fish in them and in one of the lakeside pavilions there are people who sell fish food. Quite a number of people bought it and this attracted most of the fish to the lake shore. The fish are truly gluttonous, some of them practically on the track trying to get food. It’s fun watching them. I decided to go to the other side of the lake and relax in one of the pavilions with my book for a while.
I finally made my way to graduation. The trail is steep, but not too bad. I have to take a short walk before going to Zhengdong Tower. It was built in 1381 and is a nine gable and hip gable structure. This tower will give a beautiful view to the surrounding area. I really hope that more than the ground floor of the tower is open for visitors because I would love to go up to a higher floor to peek from one of the windows. Next, I headed for a gap in one direction. Here, there are some old stepping stones on display. There are also statues of warriors lining the walls in various attack positions. I like to look over the wall and see the city of Shanhaiguan below. Here, all the buildings are old one-story brick buildings. There are many gardens to grow vegetables. I came to the Linlv Tower, which had been used to defend the Shanhaiguan Pass during the Ming Dynasty. It was abandoned and turned into ruins during the Qing Dynasty, before it was restored in the 1980s. Right past the tower, the wall was closed, so I retraced my steps and looked to the other side of the wall. This side is much wilder, only trees and greenery. Also, the walls are quite beautiful, most people don’t dare to go this far. I returned to the center and headed for a gap in the other direction. After a while, I came to Muying Tower, which I caught a glimpse of. From there, I proceeded to the Jingbian Tower. This tower looks more ornate than the others. Right past the tower, there was another gate blocking the entrance further into the wall, so I returned to the entrance / exit.
I decided to take a walk around the old city. I retrace my steps from the night before. You can visit different gates, but they need an entrance ticket, so I don’t bother. It’s nice to see all the shops open, even if they all seem to sell the same items. There are also a number of school children (high school or high school students) on field trips to the city. I roamed the main street and found several places, such as temples and other attractions (I’m not sure what that was), but they were closed. I guess many things are only open in the high season. Because I was still full from lunch, I ended up buying some sweet snacks that were sold in almost all stores. There was so good that I ended up eating a whole box. Maybe I’m more hungry than I thought.
The train station is a short walk from the old city. It only took about 15-20 minutes, but disaster struck when the North Entrance (which I used to occupy) was closed and undergoing rennovations. Extraordinary! A taxi driver offered to drive me to the South Entrance, but because I was worried I would be tricked I chose to walk. It took another 15-20 minutes, because I had to go down the road beside the railroad tracks until I reached the underground road and the double back inside me was on the opposite side of the rail. The train station is quite small and boring. I just sat reading while waiting for my train to be called. I really enjoyed visiting Laolongtou and Shanhaiguan, I doubt they are on many people’s travel plans when visiting China, but their closeness to Beijing makes them a great day or overnight trip. I was also surprised at how lonely the attraction was. Maybe it was because there was a national holiday the previous week, but I was rather pleased with the lack of crowds.