Friday, November 14, 2008

Beijing Day 3: The Great Wall

Well, what Sam said is true, visiting the Great Wall has been a life-long dream of mine. I had a strange fascination with the Wall when I was little (I can still see the small, blue, hardback book my parents bought me). I guess it's the allure of something you can see from space, but that was built without the assistance of any "modern" construction conveniences. The idea of this wall snaking though the countryside for thousands of years (construction on the first sections of the Wall began in the 6th century BC) just captivates me. In any case, finally getting to see it and walk it was a really amazing experience.
We decided not to take our hostel's tour because we wanted to set our own time frame on the wall. We also decided not to go to Badaling, the most often visited section of the Great Wall because we wanted something a bit less, well, crowded. Instead we took a bus (and then a taxi) to the Mutianyu section, about 70km northeast of Beijing. Overall, I think it was a good decision, and getting there and back was not too difficult. Just make sure that if you do this, when you get off the bus at Huairou you set a return price with your cab driver before you take off as your cab driver will sit and wait for you while you are on the Wall.
So, we finally arrived at Mutianyu and took the cable car up to the top. It was absolutely gorgeous, and I will now stop talking and provide photo evidence of our journey! (As usual, more over at the picture page.)

Ummm... so. many. stairs.

What trip to the Great Wall would be completely without a thoroughly exauhsted, ridiculously dorky high-five photo as a capper? Obviously not this one!

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