Sunday, April 15, 2007

Beijing: The Great Wall of China

Easily one of the Top 10 most amazing places I have ever been to!!

Our hotel had arranged for a private driver and English speaking tour guide to take us to the Great Wall (about an hour and a half outside of Beijing). Although we had initially wanted to see the less touristy portion of the wall at Simitai, we ended up just going to the very popular (and closest to Beijing) portion at Badaling where much of it has been renovated.

The day was overcast and gray, and the Great Wall blended into the dreary brown mountains, but it was still (and literally) a breath- taking experience to be able to climb those steps! At some points, the steps were shallow and small, then there were times when we had to heave ourselves up at least 15" to get up to the next step. People wrote their names or wishes on locks for good luck and hung them on chains along the wall.

I'm not sure how long we hiked along the wall- it was fairly steep and we took plenty of photos- but by the time we started heading down, there were hordes of tourists climbing up those steps. It was a pretty cool international spectacle- busloads of tourists from all over the world with native Chinese guides speaking English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, etc.

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