Great Wall of China at Mutianyu

Hello. I’m in Hong Kong now, so why am I posting about Beijing? Well…I couldn’t really post from China, because I couldn’t see my photos. I could create the post but could only see the little icon thing that displays when a photo won’t load. I think it was because of the additional bandwidth required for the internet blocking that happens in China. I don’t really know, but it’s great to be back to blogging!

We learned that we had extraordinarily good luck with “weather” our first two days in Beijing. Weather meaning pollution as well as mist and/or drizzle. Since this point in the Great Wall is 57 kilometers from the city, I’m not sure if the pollution reaches here, but I think these are pretty unusually good shots. I think we could see for around a hundred miles.

We took a private tour to the wall. My advice is, if you come to China to see the wall, pay the money for the private tour even if you need to stay one day less. And I recommend seeing the wall at Mutianyu, because it’s  a bit further and less crowded and there’s a chairlift or tram to the top, leaving very little walking. The least walking at the top is the chairlift which has the additional bonus of an optional toboggan ride back down to the bottom. You do need to use your stomach muscles to ride the toboggan, though. I was a tad tired at the end of the toboggan ride. I need to keep hitting the hotel gyms, but sometimes I slack off, and muscles go away quickly with me.

We learned about the Mutianyu site from a woman we met sitting on the rooftop patio at the hotel on the afternoon of our arrival. The closest one (Badaling) is great but very busy, according to the woman we talked to. The furthest one is a bit of a clawing scramble according to her. This one was purported to be the best combo of easy to climb up onto but also not too crowded.

Anyway, the Great Wall. Wow. It changed my perspective to see it. It’s awesome. When I first caught sight of it snaking over the mountains I think I screamed in the back seat of the car. Our tour guide, a wonderful, incredible person whom you must hire if you go, started cracking up when she heard my reaction. We climbed up there and it’s so beautiful but also sobering. I mean, they built it to keep out the marauding hordes. It’s a very concrete representation of how national defense has always been a need.

I had such a great experience in China that I get emotional thinking about it. I loved it. Maybe I’m emotional about it because I didn’t expect to like it. I was kind of gritting my teeth and going because my husband wanted to. I mean, I was kind of excited, but mostly worried.

First of all, I felt safe. Secondly, people were nice. We took the subway in Beijing and went really far, but I’ll talk about that another time. Today I want to show you my personal Nia Simone shots from this most photographed UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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