If a person is asked to name one thing to see in China, I think at least 90% would give the same answer. Sure, there is the Bund, the Terracotta Warriors, the Three Gorges Dam, but the vast majority will say, in any language, one thing - the Great Wall. Today we were going to tackle it.
We had wanted to do this independently, but it was too difficult to organise, so we opted for the trip done by the hostel. Two buses, carrying about 35 people, thus set off at around 8.45. The destination - Jinshanling. Obviously the Great Wall is quite large, so there are different sections you can go to. Badaling is the most popular, as it is closest to Beijing, so thus the most crowded. We got lucky, as Jinshanling is where we had wanted to go. The bus headed about 100km north of the capital.
We caught a glimpse of it upon our arrival. Me and Matt bought hats - I bartered hard for 15, Matt paid 35 - and we began to hike up to the Wall itself. This is where cloud cover was invaluable - it was 33'C, so the Wall would have more challenging if the Sun had been beating down on us.
We were walking from Jinshanling to Simatai, which is 7km and 22 towers in total. It is spectacular. There were very few people, so we could take our time and truly appreciate every aspect of this giant structure. How they managed to build this is astonishing.
Some of the Wall can be quite challenging, but nothing beyond our (ahem) athletic ability. Some even wore clothes not really suited to the task at hand, such as this girl's shoes. I cannot explain the grandeur of this place in words, so will let the pictures do it for me.
About two-and-a-half hours later, myself and an American called Nick were sprinting up to the final tower, and we had hiked along one of the most spectacular sights man has ever constructed. We had to get back down and avoid some T-shirt sellers that I may have offend with my uber-hard bargaining, before getting on the bus back to the hostel.
I had the feeling, as I star-jumped on the Wall, that I might have just experienced the highlight of my trip. I don't care about visa issues, I don't care that you have a job or a kid. I don't care if you are lazy. No excuses. Go to the Great Wall of China. Believe the hype.
Love you all