Today, it has been exactly one year since I ran the most beautiful run in my life. It was the 10 km run within the 2019 Jinshanling Great Wall Marathon which I finished in official time 2:14:59 on the 66th place from 292 racers. I was really proud (and I still am) about this result 🙂 And because I haven’t got the time to write a post about it since then when would be the best time to do then now?

However, my travel to China was not only because of the run but also to visit this beautiful and interesting country and to visit my friend, who had been living and working in China for a few years already. So, let’s start from the beginning.

During summer 2018, I and my friend Leona decided to visit our other friend Jana, who had been living in China for two years. And because both of us like running, we decided to participate in some run and bring home some Chinese medal. After some research, we decided to participate in the above mentioned 10 km Great Wall run. As it was quite expensive fun, we decided to register for it and to plan the trip around it (and actually start proper training) later. Even for the early bird registration, we paid 223,60 USD.

After some time and many discussions, we decided to travel to China in the period of 11.4. – 28.4.2019 with the run taking place in the middle of the stay, as we wanted to be adapted to the place and time zone already but not yet too tired from the travelling.

At first, we made a list of sights and places which each of us would like to visit and then we were discussing the lengths and prices of the transfer flights, various hotels and taking into account many other things. We created several possible scenarios and in the end, we chose this one:

Despite our detailed planning, the plan had some cons and some pros but I will write about it later. Anyway, when we set up the plan, we started our procedure of getting a visa. Because it can take several weeks, we started about one month before the planned start of the trip, when we had all our flight tickets and hotels booked (it is required to attach the bookings to the visa application). The application itself has several pages and about a million or two questions. Well, not really but it feels like that. And as a few of them were quite tricky, we set up with Leona a girls’ visa-application-filling party and spent a great evening together getting through the form (and drinking some wine).

Part of the application process is also personal interview at the embassy, where you need to explain why you want to travel to China, who are you going with, where are you going to stay (even despite you write all these things to the form, you need to say it again personally at the embassy) and some other questions. Then you pay the fee (2700 CZK = 97 EUR) and you need to wait if you get the visa or not. It took only a week and we got it. We were very happy and excited and started to look forward to flying to China even more than before!

One other thing that needs to be considered before travel is vaccination. I think it is not required but when I talked to the doctor at the transplantation center, he strongly recommended me the vaccination against Jaundice (both A and B) and Typhoid. For people with transplanted organs, both these illnesses can be very dangerous and so I decided to go for it. The Typhoid vaccination is only a one-time process and can be taken even one week before the travel but with the Jaundice it is more complicated. The whole vaccination consists of three injections and at least two of them must be taken at least one week before travel. So, it is necessary to plan this in advance and start at least six weeks before the planned travel with the first dose, then after 5 weeks continue with the second one and there still should be at least one week left before the travel to make the vaccine work fully. The third dose should be applied after one year from the second one.

Another thing, that a person with a transplanted organ should properly take care of, are the pills. I, personally, am taking 6 different types of medication, where in some cases one dose consists of more pills and some of them I take twice a day. Plus some supplements like magnesium or cranberries that I need to take regularly as well. To sum this up, I usually take around 20 pills per day. When I multiply this with the 18-days plan of the trip plus some reserve for the case of some unplanned complications and add some common medication against diarrhea, motion sickness or painkillers, I come to a number around 400 pills that I need to pack with me. That is already quite a bag of drugs that will travel with me around half the world and cross many borders. So, to prevent any possible problems with the border control or police, I asked my transplantation center to write me an official statement about my health and about the pills I had to take regularly. They surprised me in a good way by providing me the official statement already translated to English and German within two days. Great!

So, when we finally had our visas, our vaccines and our bags packed (not sure which of these three things was the most complicated), we finally started our journey on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the Václav Havel Airport in Prague.