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Published: April 14th 2012
Okay, what can I possibly say about the Great Wall of China that millions have not already said? Who can come to Beijing and not see the Great Wall?
My husband and I didn’t take a guided tour of China. We decided to “do” Beijing on our own, which I know is ambitious and sounds crazy. Part of our adventure was discovering areas that were off the beaten path. We also got to take our time with some of the key attractions such as the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven which made our trip that much more special.
For the Great Wall, we ended up taking a guided tour. When we were at the airport we got one of those guides and I sent them an email inquiring about prices and dates. The hotel tours are very expensive and charge at least twice the price per person. The tours to the Great Wall run every day and typically stop at the Ming Palace on the way there. The distance to the Great Wall from Beijing is quite far by road, so it’s worth going on a tour or hiring car. We ended up going on a small group
tour which was perfect. There were only 6 of us on the tour. Our tour guide was amazing and very friendly.
Our day was beautiful and sunny. When we arrived to the great wall it was hard to believe we were actually there. I think I mentioned I have experience this so many times at other sites such as the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids. They have a surreal appeal to them. There tours typically take you to the Badaling wall which is one of the best spots.
It’s hard to fathom the grandeur of how far the wall stretches. We were able to walk up part of the wall to the top where you can get wonderful view the wall as far as the eye can see. From the top of the Balaling wall you can see the other side of the wall (North West side) which is a flatter part. If you have chance to go on our own, you can hike the flatter part of the wall instead of climbing up the steep steps. Yes they are very steep. One step is 1/3 of my height, had to almost climb up some of them!
It truly is an experience to see the Great wall; you can understand why it is one of the 7 wonders of the world. Try to contemplate how many people laboured to build this wall over the hilly terrain. The other amazing thing is how much the wall is still in tact. After centuries of standing in the wind, humidity, dust, snow, rain, etc. the structure is remarkably sturdy and solid. I am sure parts of the wall are in ruin, but this part was not.
A few tips, make sure you wear very sturdy, flat, skip proof shoes/boots. The stones are very slippery and have become worn from all of the people going up and down the wall. It is easy to slip if you have smooth bottom shoes. I saw a lady trying to go up the wall with heels on, huge mistake. If you are going to come all that way to see a wonder of the world, make sure you enjoy it. A silly thing like wearing the wrong shoes can prevent you from realizing the full experience.
The Great Wall was one of the best experiences of my life. It really is like
living a piece of history.
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