“They did not know what we can now sense as we contemplate the course of history: that change begins in the soul before it shows in our lives…” ? Franz Kafka, The Great Wall of China
I had always known that the the Great Wall of China is acknowledged as the world’s most amazing man-made artifact and the world’s longest human-made structure. It ‘s been my dream to visit the Great Wall of China before my knees would give up on me. In fact, there is this famous Chinese proverb about the Great Wall, which says “Not been on the Great Wall, not a great man”. A year ago, I was lucky to purchase plane tickets to fulfil this dream to travel with my husband to Beijing and see the Great Wall which is full of history . I had no idea what part of the Great Wall I would travel but fate was on my side because I chanced upon Janice post on Throwback Travel post: Memories of China where she recommended the Mutianyu portion. Further research showed that Mutianyu is much farther than the famous Badaling Section, and this section of the Great Wall gives a more fantastic view. They also said this section had fewer tourists than the Badaling section.
Butch and I were terribly excited to finally walk the Great Wall. I hired the services of Tristan, the same personal tour guide that Janice used in her trip. The one hour and a half ride to the Mutianyu Great Wall had such a spectacular view of willow trees, farm land, blue skies and cool weather. When we arrived at the Great Wall parking area by 10:30 AM, there were already too many tourist buses causing a jam. If there that many tourists in Badaling, then you can imagine what it is like in Badaling. Just make sure to leave the city early.
October is a great time to travel to Beijing. Though the weather was cool, it was comfortable enough to travel. The entrance fee is 45 RMB and as our tour guide bought tickets, I checked out the market but wasn’t too excited about it. I wanted to be at the Great Wall. I didn’t want to hike all the way to the top so we chose the cable car to bring us to the top. The walk up to the cable car station is steep and full of market vendors but you can choose to ride the elevator.
I thought the cable ride (80 Yuan each) would be nerve wracking but it wasn’t that bad. I got distracted by the breathtaking view.
Spotting the Great Wall from the cable car , I left my fear of heights behind. Using the cable car brings us to Section 14 of Mutianyu Great Wall.
There is a landing for tourists to mill around before the tower.
I expected a lot walking so I wore comfortable sneakers. Indeed , the wall is hilly with lots of stairs.
I could have chosen this path to go to the wall but I chose to climb the steps to the tower.
I just stood there as I marveled at the grandeur around me. I started to imagine what it was like in 220 BC when the wall was being built.
The beauty of the surrounding mountains and wall compelled both of us to just stand there and gaze and of course, take photos of ourselves.
It is difficult to explain how beautiful the wall is as you gaze at the graceful curves of the wall lying on top of these mountains.
All I could think of was the amount of men and time spent in building this structure under cold weather conditions.
Some portions were really steep so I just watched Butch from the tower as he walked off to the next tower.
Looking down , I called him out to take a photo of me.
SNAP (That’s me on the left side)
There are no words left for me to describe how beautiful the Great Wall of China is. I am glad we kept taking photos of each other to remind us that we actually were here.
Walking can be quite challenging as the steps are uneven but all I did was take it one step at a time. It is also a good reason to stop , turn and look around.
We stayed three hours on the wall which is enough time to explore and contemplate about the majesty of this centuries old structure.
Butch helps an American tourist haggle a shirt from 80 Yuan to just 50 Yuan.
I could ramble on and on about the Great Wall. My photos will never do justice to one of the Seven Wonders of the world so you just have to come to Beijing to see it. One of the places in the world I’ve dreamt to see and the experience didn’t let me down. I’ve heard about the Great Wall my whole life and to finally be there was so amazing. Be ready to do some serious hiking if you go there but it is definitely worth it.
The quote “You aren’t a great man until you’ve been to the Great Wall” also means our time here on Earth is not that long and we better make the best of it.