Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Great Wall

I have decided that it is impossible to use one word to describe what it was like to walk along the Great Wall. The experience was certainly the highlight of our 8 day trip to China. We visited the Juyong Pass (traditionally called Juyongguan) section of the Great Wall, closest to Beijing but actually not the most popular section, which turned out to be a blessing, as we occasionally found ourselves alone on the Wall. This section of the Great Wall, like most, has been renovated since being built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); however it still showed the wear and tear of many years of use. The most shocking thing about the wall was how incredibly steep some of the steps were! Also, there were spots with a really steep step or two followed by some smaller steps and then back to steep steps, which made for more challenging walking than I had expected.

One thing that we found very interesting during our visit to the Great Wall was the number of Chinese people who wanted their pictures taken with us. Not being a traditionally "touristy" spot, there were not many other non-Chinese people around, so we were often targeted for picture taking. Our translator, Dominque, explained that some of these people might be from very small villages in China and they may not have ever seen white people before. We liked to tell ourselves that we bared similar resemblance to famous people and they wanted their pictures taken with us for that reason, ha! ;)

Walking on the Great Wall was such a memorable experience and I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend the day at Juyong Pass. I'll leave you with pictures, which are not entirely my doing, as my co-workers Cal and Nathan shared their fantastic photos of this experience (and the rest of our China trip pictures) with me.
This building is located at the start of Juyong Pass. You can choose to go left or right from there.
Steps showing their age
We are on our way up the left, or more difficult side.
The views get better and better the higher we go!
Looking out onto the right side...I have close up of that red building below.
The section that you see now is the "right" side of the wall that we would climb after descending from our climb of the "left" side. That building in the center is also in photos below.
If you look closely, you can see how steep some of the steps are!
View from the top of the left side. Not many people actually climbed up the entire section.
An example of our popularity for photographs!
This is at the top of the right side...
...and the building that we saw from afar when we climbed the left side.
This sort of shows you how steep the left side was. This was taken from the top of the right side.
A road runs through the two sides. That red building is the one from the first picture.

A Great Wall "selfie"!

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