BootsnAll Travel Network

If I Built This Fortress

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It took two trips to Beijing, but I finally made it to The Great Wall. Yesterday I hiked 10 kilometers on one of the less developed stretches of The Great Wall of China, and it truly was great. It was a clear, sunny day, and we were so far from Beijing (about 3 hours) it was virtually a smog-free experience.

I was afraid The Great Wall would be one of those anti-climatic experiences, but I really enjoyed the hike. I took a van that promised no shopping (no trips to the jade factory, etc.) and it delivered. We drove straight there, hiked the 10K stretch, and were picked up on the other side. My only complaint was that it wasn’t long enough. I really didn’t want it to end. The scenery was fantastic, I had great company along the way, and the workout was completely refreshing.

There’s not much I can tell you about the history of the Great Wall. I know it’s the world’s largest/longest fortification, built to keep out Mongol invaders from the North (Ghengis Khan, Kublai Khan, etc.). It was left in disrepair for hundreds of years, and the Chinese government has only recently taken an interest in its restoration, mostly for the tourist dollars. Contrary to popular myth, it can not be seen from outer space, and it is not one continuous wall, but rather a series of walls.

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The very beginning of the hike… the first 10 minutes of the hike were on a restored section of the wall…

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And then things got a little rough….

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Since this wasn’t a super-touristy stretch of the wall, there were only a few vendors like this man selling ice water.

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This vendor from Mongolia attached himself to me for the first half of the hike… and insisted on taking picture after picture of me…

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View from inside one of the watchtowers

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In yet another act of shamelessness, we were forced to pay to cross this bridge. Well, not forced, but if you didn’t want to hike 10 kilometers back the way you came, you had to pay.

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4 responses to “If I Built This Fortress”

  1. matt says:

    shamlessness is sometimes the name of the game in asia….i look forward to the cheap charlies adventures in a few weeks and since my schedule is basically going to nothing, ill have plenty of time to do stuff!

  2. Scott says:

    It is strange that they would build the wall on some stretches of terrain that are like naturally occurring defenses. Some of those hills are so steep that no army would try to come over them — so why build a wall on top of it? The valley already is a wall.

    Why are you surprised he would follow you around and take your picture? I know I would! But you should have started charging him, ala Ben!

  3. Adam Shane says:

    I’m soooo jealous. Not only are you free now… but you got the Great Wall on a sunny day?!?! Lucky! =P

  4. Mootz says:

    Max was checking out your pics of the Great Wall over my shoulder. I was surprised that he knew what the great wall of China looked like. Then, he said one of your pictures looked like a roller coaster. Gotta love how a 5 year old can put things into a different perspective.

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