City Weekend magazine features reviews of family-friendly activities in Beijing, and their September issue contained this report from one family's trip with us to the Great Wall.
Thanks for the kind words, Müller-Conrad family!
Here's the transcript of the review, from the City Weekend website.
Family Tested: Beijing Hikers
It's easy to get caught up with life in the big city, but here's a great way to get away from it all: hiking in Beijing. Best of all, it's tried and tested family-friendly.
The Family: The Müller-Conrads (Leonie, 14, and Birte, 11)
The Verdict: “A great way to leave the big city behind”
Perfect For: Hikers of all skill levels
The Greener Side
“Do we really have to go hiking?” Our daughters, 14-year-old Leonie and 11-year-old Birte, are for once of the same opinion. Hiking isn’t fun, it isn’t cool. But it’s a great way to leave the big city behind and enjoy the green side of our host country.
A hassle-free way to do this is to sign up with Beijing Hikers. They run trips several times a week, from easy walks to strenuous hikes. All you have to do is hop on the bus and trust in their experienced guides. Three of them accompany each trip, walking at different paces so you can choose how fast (or slow) you want to go. An essential tip for parents with not-so-enthusiastic kids: Make sure they can bring friends along! This guarantees a great day outdoors like the one we had in late August.
After one and a half hours on the bus, the rather steep trail takes us up to an unrestored part of the Great Wall. The air had cleared overnight, giving us magnificent views in all directions. Green mountainsides, small villages, a waterfall in the distance—China at its best.
Time for a snack and photos until Tina, the lead guide, gives the signal to pack up and get going again. Our kids and their friends are chatting while clambering over the uneven steps of the Wall. No complaining, no moaning. An hour goes by quickly, the August heat eased by a fresh breeze. Cacophonic Beijing is a world away.
The descent takes us down into a fertile valley and a well-preserved village with lush vegetation and vegetable patches. After almost four hours on the trail, everyone is looking forward to being rewarded with a sumptuous lunch (which comes with most hikes) and a cool drink in the local restaurant that appears to be open only for us.
On the way home we feel stuffed, a bit tired and very relaxed after a fabulous hike. No doubt, days like this are soul- and eye-openers.