Beijing: The Great Wall Of China (Mutianyu)

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» Beijing: The Great Wall Of China (Mutianyu)
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Posted on: June 29th, 2010

So today has been a pretty major day in terms of sightseeing! We had a really early start, getting up around half 6 in the morning. After grabbing a quick breakfast, we got into the minivan (which was quite a squeeze for all 10 of us, and I had to sit on the dodgy fold-out seat which has no belt and shakes back and forth with the car….a little worrying considering how crazy China’s traffic is!)

We drove for about an hour and a half; passing the time by singing along to Tenacious D songs, which made things go by pretty quickly! We were hoping that driving so far from Beijing would mean escaping the smog but when we arrived at the Great Wall we were a little disappointed to see that the smog was still as thick as ever! That wasn’t going to get us down though because we were about to witness one of the greatest wonders of the world!

The driver disappeared into a food stall pretty quickly after we arrived at Mutianyu (the section of the Great Wall we’d chosen) and so we didn’t waste any time making our way to the ticket office. We jumped on the ski lifts in pairs (with barriers held down by our feet being the only thing holding us in place!) and spent about 5 minutes enjoying the sights as we approached the Great Wall. The ride was pretty nerve-wracking as the ski lifts shook back and forth a lot and there was a lot of creaking noises throughout; and below us was a steep drop into the foresty crevasse! While slightly terrifying, it was nevertheless a stunning sight.

Don't look down!

Once we reached the top, we started trekking! Some of us were more eager to trek than others and so it wasn’t long until we split into two groups; those going for a leisurely stroll and those who wanted to get as far as we could across the Wall (taking lots of pictures and videos along the way of course!)

I decided to go with the second group as I wanted to see as much of the Wall as I could, but still taking in the sights. Mutianyu was definitely a good choice as it has beautiful surroundings and the wall is well built up in that section.

Breathtaking views up here!

The first thing we noticed is how steep some parts of the Wall were. We literally had to lift our legs right up to climb single steps in some areas and there was one set of “steps” where there was just dips in the stone and we essentially rock-climbed up it!

These were some of the easiest steps to climb, it got a lot worse!

We were glad that there were lots of ‘stations’ (or forts) across the Wall as the heat was particularly searing up there and we were especially drained from all the walking. So we took regular breaks for water and rest which kept us going for a long time.

Half way through our journey we actually bumped into a donkey, which was pretty random. We couldn’t work out how on earth the poor donkey managed to climb up and down those insanely steep steps!

To quote the profound words of Deniz...'DANKEY!'

We walked for a good two hours and eventually decided to head back after seeing steps in the distance that actually looked like they were vertical!

What's a lizard doing all the way up here?!

On the way back we randomly bumped into Deniz who was walking around on his own (crazy!) so we all headed back to the ski lift point.

When we all met back at the ski lifts, we braced ourselves for the toboggan ride down from the Great Wall! I must admit I was pretty nervous but once I got on it I had a lot of fun (wish I could do it again!)


Back at the bottom we had a little look around all the stalls where salespeople as crazy as those from Pearl Flea Market nagged us to buy their stuff. I grabbed a cheap bowl of 蛋炒飯 (egg fried rice!) and then we all headed off for the ride back to the hotel!

The Great Wall was definitely as amazing as I’d expected it to be and it was an unforgettable experience. The grandeur of the Wall was just breathtaking and it was a nice reminder of why I love to travel so much!

We’re not absolutely sure what we’re getting up tomorrow for our last full day in Beijing, but it’s going to be quite an easygoing day since today was such a major trip, so…more tomorrow!

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I'm a 21-year-old university student currently living in Oxford, UK. I love travelling and hope someday to move abroad permanently. The best part about travelling for me is having new experiences, soaking up all the culture and making new friends from around the world. As well as travel, I love music (live or otherwise), gaming and cinema.
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