It's over 30 degrees C (high 80s F) in Beijing now. As a friend said, Spring barely happened--the trees and flowers are very confused--and we just rushed straight into Summer! Last weekend, before this sudden hotspell, some friends managed to drive to the countryside just over the border into Hebei province, to get away from the city for one day, and enjoy some fresh air, fresh food and some gentle hiking.
The group had instructions to go to Chenjiapu, a small village of old farmhouses with some families settled there since the Wall was built, many with surname CHEN. From there, it's a short walk to the base of the mountains on top of which are several beautiful untouched sections of the Wall - undamaged (by Man, but not by Nature) and unrestored. One can hire a guide for 100 RMB to take you on a range of walks, such as High and Round Towers (only 3 such round ones on the whole Wall, the guide said), demanding but rewards with one of the best views over the Chenjiapu valley and beyond, or Hunchback Curve, also demanding but with some of the most picturesque Wall curves and fairy-tale like staircases in beijing, or Easy Over, a short walk of 3 or 4 hours.
I wonder how she spent her honeymoon? staying up to watch the sunset (or sunrise) over the Wall, or the stars at night? How romantic!