A few weekends ago, on a bright, crisp, late-winter day, boyfriend and I headed up to The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu, which is, as its name suggests, at the base of the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Beijing was just beginning to thaw after a long, cold winter — it had even snowed during the week — but it was a gorgeous day.
It was actually only the second time I’d been to the Great Wall since I moved to Beijing, and a different section from the one I went to before (I also climbed the Wall when I came on holiday in 2002, although I have no idea which section that was.) I didn’t expect to have the morning to roam, so I wasn’t wearing the most appropriate clothes for hiking the Wall. Instead we trekked along the road leading up to the Wall and through the villages surrounding it below, which is actually more interesting than the Wall itself. Most of the villagers here appear to be farmers of sorts, and it’s a world away from the urban center of Beijing. We had actually come to see how tofu is made, as demonstrated by a husband-and-wife team that supplies the Schoolhouse with their fresh tofu. It turned out to be much less intensive than I thought it would be, and it only took about an hour from start to finish. Now I feel like I should make my own tofu, but unfortunately boyfriend doesn’t eat it so my hard work won’t have much of a payoff.
All in all, it was great to get out of the city and breathe. More pictures from the excursion here.