The Great Wall of China
Today I explored one of the biggest attractions in all of China, The Great Wall! The wall is 5,500 miles long which means that there are multiple areas to choose from to explore. I originally wanted to go to the Mutianyu section which gives you an opportunity to toboggan back down after hiking up, but our hostel offered a tour of another section that is off limits to tourists. The other thing I learned that swayed me towards the hostel tour is a lot of the more touristy areas of the wall don’t have the original stones, they have been reconstructed using cement making it not as authentic. The area the hostel took us to is all original, the only section that has been redone is an area that they put wood planks across the original stone where it has deteriorated.
The drive from our hostel to that section took about 2.5 hours, and there was nobody in the area when we arrived. Our tour guide gave us a little background on the wall, then we were free to climb on our own. In my mind I always thought the Great Wall would just be like taking a casual walk, but I was wrong. There are no flat areas, it is literally stone steps which are all uneven that you have to climb while hiking up the side of a mountain. The section that we did had 7 watch towers, and was a 6 kilometer/ 3 mile round trip hike which doesn’t sound bad, but it was! Think about it this way, for 1.5 miles, you are just climbing stairs, and not normal sized stairs, but ones that are so tall sometimes you need to use your hands. For some sections it was a lot easier, but in between the 2nd and 3rd watchtower were the wooden planks which were really sketchy! I thought I was going to fall right through them. They were also very wobbly making me think I was going to fall over the side of the mountain we were climbing.
Even though it was really hard, and really cold, the hike is well worth it. The views are stunning, and being in an area where you can see the real stones they used gives you appreciation for the work that was put into building the wall. I’m complaining about just hiking up the wall when the workers had to do that same hike with the materials to build the wall every single day with hardly any rest, food, or water.
After we were done with the hike, we enjoyed an amazing lunch prepared for us by the hostel. It had rice, chicken with cabbage, onions with pork, tomatoes with eggs, and something that reminded me of Kung Pao Chicken. It was really good, and we were all starving so it was probably 10 times as good! After our day trip to the wall, I called it a night and went to bed early so I could be rested for the next day of fun!