Sliding down the Great Wall of China

Entrance to tomb of Emperor Zhu Yijun (1563 – 1620)

We booked a tour, which consisted of us, an English speaking local guide and a driver, for a day out at the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs. The day started with a stop at the jade shop. We could have opted out of this part of the tour for a cost of $20 extra each.  That’s right, you pay more if you don’t want to attend the mandatory shopping.  So we obediently looked around the jade shop, admired the art work and left without spending a yuan, then headed on to the Ming Tombs.

Tomb headstone

I was surprised at how quickly we left Beijing behind and started driving along country roads and by farmlands. We visited a tomb where Ming Dynasty Emperor Zhu Yijun (1563 – 1620) was buried.  The construction of the tomb started when he was 22 years old.  It’s a strange concept to me preparing for your death at such an early age. I wonder what impact it has on the way you live your life? The Ming tombs are not small mausoleums, they were built as hidden palaces, replicating that which the Emperor lived in but on a slightly smaller scale. While the tomb we visited was not elaborate, as the relics have been removed, it’s fascinating that Continue reading