Postcard From Beijing: The Great Wall of China

Here’s what went through my head while walking along the Great Wall of China:

“I can’t believe I’m walking the Great Wall of China”

“It looks just like I’ve seen in photographs, but bigger”

“It’s so beautiful I have to take a picture”

“Oh, look at that view, I have to take another picture”

“And now it’s even more beautiful. I need another picture…”

“Wow, I really AM walking on the Great Wall of China”.

…You get the idea.

So, behold, just a small sampling of the approximately 500 photographs I took of every little nook and cranny of the Mutianyu section of The Great Wall of China, including the souvenir selling mania that followed.

We took a wrong turn and accidentally started walking up the Great Wall instead of meeting our friend at the gondola. After we realized our mistake, we started walking down and saw this sign. I think it means “Come back again”.

No, we did not walk up to the top – don’t judge. Although we did walk down.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I traveled to Beijing with two colleagues – Kara and Allyson. Kara had a connection in Beijing through her parents and so we were incredibly blessed that Lee (pictured with us below) and her friend were available to take us to the Great Wall. Lee and her husband live part of the year in Beijing and part of the year in Washington state. She was so incredibly sweet and so generous with her time. I doubt we would have made it to the Great Wall if Lee had not been there to take us.

After hiking about 1.5 miles along the top of the wall, we walked back down through souvenir central to get some lunch. Now, I am not comfortable with bartering but apparently that’s what you have to do here. I’m even less comfortable bartering in Chinese so, thankfully, I had Lee there to help me out. While I avoided the fake Columbia gloves, I did walk away with a couple of small dragon figurines for the boys and panda stacking dolls which I gave to a friend’s daughter in Tokyo. I feel comfortable that I managed to get a bargain price on all of my items but, honestly, it’s hard for me to calculate Dollars into Yuan so who really knows.

Finally, we stopped for lunch at a Chinese restaurant at the base of the wall. You know your food is fresh when you see this as you walk in the door.

10 minutes later…

What a wonderful day. We were blessed with blue (pollution-free) skies, great company and the kind of leg pain that reminds you of your experience  through the following day. Truly once in a lifetime.

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