Our anniversary trip was definitely one for the books! We had the hardest time deciding between Paris and Thailand, and although I definitely want to see the Eiffel Tower one day. I’m so glad we went with our gut!
We had our hearts set on Thailand but having a lay over in China, we quickly decided to stay put for 2 days and check off another destination on our bucket list! So after our 15 hour flight we were finally in Asia! Our hopes were to adjust from the jet lag right away. So we checked in our hotel, dropped our bags and went straight to Wangfujing Night Food Market. This place was packed with people! After looking around, we quickly realized we were probably not getting any food here! The Wangfujing market is THAT market where all the weird foods are served! But was it fun and absolutely gross watching others indulge!
That is until we came across this gem! I originally thought they were mini candy apples, but I later found out they are called Tanghulu. A typical winter snack in northern China. It is made from using red or yellow hawthorn berries, also known as haws, and then dipped into sugar which creates the crystallized coating. The taste of this treat….so good! It’s a combination of sweet and tart!
We walked around has long as we could and then our heavy eyes convinced us it was time to call it a night.
So later after googling this new treat! I learned that its a snack that goes back 800 years ago! One of the emperor’s favorite concubines was sick and had a poor appetite. A doctor ordered that she eat 10 hawthorn berries (which are high in vitamin C) covered in the crystallized sugar before dinner. The concubine recovered within a couple of weeks and word of the miraculous cure spread. The recipe spread among the common folk and was gradually transformed into today’s tanghulu.
November 11, 2018
Our First Anniversary
Maybe it was excitement for our anniversary day or maybe it was just the intense jet lag but our bodies didn’t allow us much sleep. We woke up at 2am….way too early for our 5am departure for our Great Wall of China adventure. So we got ready and anxiously awaited our driver for one the best days of our trip!
We wanted to see the sunrise while walking the Great Wall. I had read that China’s sunrises are some of the most amazing sites and knowing that we would mostly like be up it was an easy call. We also wanted to go to the “wild” part of the wall. A section of the wall that is not maintain and doesn’t have a ton of tourist.
Our driver brought us to this small town while it was still dark, parked right off the road and said “ We are here! Have fun!” Jason and I both looked at each other like “okay… now what…where do we go” I think he quickly saw our puzzled faces and told us he would walk us to the wall. Thank God! lol
We walked right up to what looked like the back of someone’s home. This sweet older lady came out, asked us to pay for our “tickets” (which was only $2 by the way) and then up the hill we went and there it was!
The Great Wall of China
Our driver took our picture together and then left us to explore. It was beyond spectacular! It was just us and this massive wall that went on for miles! I couldn’t have asked for a better experience with my man for our 1st anniversary!
So I don’t believe the photos does the wall justice nor do I think you can understand how steep the wall is! Between the alttitude and the close to 90 degree angle! We got our workout in! But loved every minute of it! We walked, climbed, occasionally tripped and found different angles and areas of the wall to take in. And the next day our calves where beyond sore!
I seriously can’t recommend seeing the Great Wall of China enough. If you decide to check it out, go a Wild part and most importantly with someone that you’re absolutely wild about!
After we were done with exploring, we made our way back through the sweet lady’s backyard and down the hill. It was still fairly early so we asked our driver to take us to different spot of the wall. He recommended going to Mutianyu.
It was definitely a tourist location, but they had a gorgeous gondola ride up to the wall. Which it was so ironic we got into the gondola that Melania Trump was in, exactly one year and a day ago. The ride was absolutely gorgeous and definitely got to see the wall in a different perspective. And this time we definitely didn’t have the wall all to ourselves.
After walking a portion of the wall. We stopped at the cafe, ordered two beers at 9am (it’s 9pm back home!) and decided to take in the view just a little bit longer.
Then we found our driver and asked for him to put us on something awesome for lunch.
This place definitely did not disappoint and was definitely not a tourist spot. We walked in (thankfully with our driver) and after we got through the awkward stares and the struggle navigating through the menu. The waitress and driver helped us order one of the best meals from our trip! It was exceptional and it only cost a total of $12!
We made our way back to the hotel and boy, did jet lag get us that day! It was 2pm and we decided to take a 2 hour nap. Get up at 4pm and make it to our dinner reservations at 6pm. Jason had something planned that was going to be a complete surprise to me (this man is always surprising me, I have no idea how I got so lucky). But unfortunately sleep was clearly much needed! We woke up at 5:57pm, we quickly threw ourselves together and although we missed the first part of dinner. Black Sesame Kitchen was unreal! It was an intimate cooking class followed by a 10 course Chinese dinner. There was a total of 12 other people there and all of them just so happened to speak English. So it was so delightful to talk to this diverse group. There was another couple, a girl’s family group that wanted to travel back to their mother’s and aunt’s home country and then a business group. Everyone was so much fun to chat with and made sharing this incredible meal with a blast!
So after dinner and our long nap we definitely weren’t ready to go back to the hotel. We decided to check out a few bars and live music, that were nearby. We had so much fun enjoying the music, a few Tsingtaos, and finding their restrooms extremely comical! Yes its exactly what it looks like! You have to squat over the “hole in the ground.” I tried it once and quickly realized I was definitely not a fan. I had the hardest time finding western toilets during our entire trip and then someone gave me some insight.
“You have ask for the handicap toilet”…game changer!
The next morning we explored a little bit more. Found another awesome food spot called___, which we also marked our spot in Beijing (and UCF:)
Then it was finally time to make our way to Thailand!