A long overdue sequel to the first post of my Beijing trip back in October (!) You can check out the write-up on the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square here.
While in Beijing, we knew it was imperative to make a trip to one of the seven beauteous wonders of the modern world – the Great Wall.
Hailed as the manmade structure that can be seen from outer space (well, not without magnification and, even then, only under perfect conditions), its near 22,000km length was built in stages and throughout multiple dynasties, taking more than 2000 years to complete. It was designed as a defence mechanism to keep out invaders.
We were whisked along as part of the tour highlighted in my previous post that took us to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, arriving by bus to the Mutianyu section of the Wall in just under two hours.
A stop along the way provided us with a delicious lunch and a visit to a jade factory and boutique, where I bought a figurine of my Chinese zodiac, the dog.
According to our impressively knowledgeable tour guide, if you put jade in the southeast corner of your house, it’s supposed to promote love (both romantic and platonic).
To get to the wall itself, we clambered into a bright orange cable car that took us high above a valley, canopies of trees winding their way up the mountain. Shrouded slices of the wall peeped through the greenery, giving us a glimpse of what awaited us.
A short distance from where we alighted the cable car at the top, and we were standing on the Wall. Sunshine so bright that my friends and I were squinting smiles at each other, we draped our jackets and coats over our arms, the 5°C earlier that morning in Beijing forgotten in the light and warmth.
Pictures don’t do the wall’s view justice (sadly, they’re all I have to show you) with the vibrant shades of green and panoramic views of streaky blue skies, mountain peaks, and rustling leaves. Between each stretch of wall was a watch tower with a maze of short, serpentine corridors within and windows looking out at the spectacular view.
Walking those stone paths that so many before us have tread was a surreal feeling and one I’m so glad to keep within me now as a memory.
Striped centipedes crawled along the surfaces, basking in the cold October sunlight – though some lay on the ground, crushed into the stones by careless passers-by.
Unfortunately, as our tour had many stops to make in the single day, we were allocated just two and a half hours at the Great Wall, which frankly unraveled my heartstrings. I wanted so much to take my time and stroll along for as far as I could down this historic monument, taking both literal and mental snapshots. With so little time to savour it, I felt too rushed.
But I hope to be back and give it its deserved time.
So, that’s it for the Wall! As you can see, the area is gorgeously photogenic and truly a wonder to behold.
As for the rest of Beijjng, below are some pictures taken in and around the city, near our hotel and beyond.