The Great Wall of China – WOW

Tickets for the cable car

Tickets for the cable car

I have wanted to walk the Great Wall of China for a long time and today, the 7th September, we were going to do it. The day was perfect with blue sky and sunshine. We had decided to go with the hotel tour because although you can get there on public transport there was only 2 days left in Beijing and I didn’t want to miss it. The coach journey took about an hour and a half so we were ready to stretch our legs when we arrived. The Great wall was created after the unification of China under Qin Shi Hangdi over two thousand years ago. It snakes through the countryside for several thousand miles and enabled speedy communications as well as the rapid transport of troops throughout the country.  There are 4 main areas to visit the Great Wall from Beijing. Badaling is the most touristy part of the wall followed by Mutianyu which is less commercial.  There are also 2 areas that are only partly renovated and apparently a bit of a struggle.  We decided to go to Mutianyu in the hope there wouldn’t be too many people there.

Gondola ready to jump onto

Gondola ready to jump onto

So excited

So excited

 

 

With our cable car tickets we got on and rose slowly to the top.

 

 

Our first sight of the Great Wall

Our first sight of the Great Wall

The wall ahead of us

The wall ahead of us

I felt so emotional when I got to the top and saw the Great Wall for the first time I burst into tears.  Memories of my childhood walking the Seven sisters near Eastbourne with my Dad and my Uncle Terry as a little girl came flooding back.  How Dad would have loved this, maybe he was walking with me.  I took this photo from the terrace of the cable car platform.  You can see the wall winding ahead with the very steep steps half way along.  This is a close up of the Chinese lettering on the hillside.

Chinese lettering

Chinese lettering

A Chinese bride

A Chinese bride

 

What a great place to have your wedding photos taken.

The first section was quite crowded but soon started to thin out as we continued.  Some people just want to go to the Great Wall, have their selfie taken, and leave. Total madness.

 

 

One of the 10 watchtowers

One of the 10 watchtowers

Famed for its Ming-era guard towers, of which there were 10 in the section we walked, the wall is largely a recently restored Ming dynasty structure that was built upon a earlier Qi-dynasty edifice.  The watchtowers served as signal towers, forts, living quarters and storerooms for provisions. They were spaced two arrow shots apart to leave no part unprotected (I was lucky to get this shot without any one in it).

The first section

The first section

 

The first section wasn’t that difficult with a mixture of level wall and steps but we could see the steep section up ahead.

 

The steep section

The steep section

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View through the ramparts

View through the ramparts

The wall took advantage of the natural terrain for defensive purposes following the highest point and clinging to ridges. The ramparts enabled the defending soldiers to fire down on their attackers.  Although despite its impressive battlements the wall ultimately proved ineffective because it was breached in the 17th century by the mongols and then in the 17th century by the Manchu.  Today only certain sections have been fully restored and offer superb panoramic views.

 

Impressive views

Impressive views

The tough bit begins

The tough bit begins

 

Nearly there

Nearly there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superb views

Superb views

But this wasn’t the top, it went on, although this was as far as a lot of people went. We were the only ones in our group to continue.

We were really pleased with ourselves

We were really pleased with ourselves

Very steep

Very steep

 

It looks like I’m leaning backwards but the walls really were this sloped.  It had taken us several hours to get this far but we wanted to continue.

We were now level with the Chinese lettering.

 

Level with lettering

Level with lettering

Continuing up

Continuing up

 

 

This was why I had come to China

 

 

87

 

Not many people this high up

Not many people this high up

 

 

The path was more overgrown this high up.

 

 

Almost on our own

Almost on our own

Souvenir lady

Souvenir lady

 

Would you believe this high up there was a lady selling souvenirs! I asked her if she carried all her goods up every day and she replied yes every day.  She deserved a sale for working all that way every day.

 

 

Astounding views looking back down

Astounding views looking back down

Awesome!!

Awesome!!

 

We made it to the top

We made it to the top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crumbling wall

Crumbling wall

 

We had made it to tower 23 which is as far as you could go on this section.  Sadly most of the wall is still unrestored and is crumbling away.  We walked along it for a little way but it was difficult and probably dangerous.  Up ahead we could see another steep section which if unrestored would be dangerous so we turned round to start our descent.

 

 

Unrestored wall up ahead.

Unrestored wall up ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting to make our descent

Starting to make our descent

 

 

Coming down was harder than going up.  Our legs were tired now.

 

 

 

We did it.

We did it.

By the time we got back to the cable car our legs were like jelly but I for one felt elated.  At the entrance is a piece of stone with this inscription on it

Once intended to ward off enemy attack today it brings the peoples of the world together. The Great Wall may it continue to act as a symbol of friendship for future generations.

Absolutely.

Tired but happy

Tired but happy

 

Advertisements

Posted on September 7, 2015, in Port posts, travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: