Monday, 2 September 2013

The Wall

When in Rome do as the Roman's do, and when in Beijing you just have to go see The Great Wall.

If you didn't already know, The Great Wall of China is a very long fortification built along the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese Empire, specifically against the pesky Mongolians. Not only is it impressive for being 6,259 km (3,889 miles) long but was also built over 2200 years go.

So I guess with all these figures flying around, we thought we better go give it a look see. Booking at the hostel we were staying (Leo Hostel) it was all very easy, and by 8am the next day we were in a mini bus on our way to The Wall.

With all those kms available, there are sections of wall catering for all sorts of tourist and in our case, the cheap back backers (note we are no longer ralliers), so we were taken to a section without any cable cars, or information boards written in Chinese. Instead we would just have to walk up the hill to it, and figure out the history for ourselves. Whilst exhausting it did mean that we would not be fighting with Chinese tourists for space on the wall.

After being promised that we would most certainly be the only ones on the wall our 'guide' from the hostel walked us up to the first section of the wall.  After a brief and not so clear explanation on the history on this section of wall (even he admitted he spoke bad 'Chinglish') he let us have free reign exploring 'the wall' so long as we made it back at 2pm for lunch.  Being hungry travellers we were not going to pass this up or be late!

I had not prepared myself for the amount of steps that there was going to be let alone how nearly vertical they were in some places.  While trying to fight with my afraid of heights issues you couldn't help but be won over and distracted by the outstanding view. I now have a new found appreciation for the Chinese soldiers who had to run up and down the wall in an attempt to protect the empire.

The wall sprawled out in front of you heading off in all directions.  As we climbed higher and higher the boys of the group powered on but my legs got the better of me and started to turn to jelly.
We had got a fair distance along and not wearing appropriate shoes (note thongs are not good for Great Wall climbing) so decided to stop and let the boys continue on as the wall got more and more rugged as we chilled in the sun soaking up the scenery.

The only problem is that when you leave us alone for too long we are bound to get up to a little mischief!

When in Rome.....or in China in this case!
With no tourists bumping into you we sat on the wall and watched the clouds move pass chatting and reminiscing about our adventure so far .  After a few hours our tummies started to rumble and we made our way down to the restaurant. Bellies full and everyone feeling content we jumped on the bus to head back into Beijing.

It was going to be the last night with our fellow Aussies Ralliers so we thought what better way to end an awesome adventure than to leave after having the most fantastic meal Beijing could offer.  

We left George with the menu and he ended up ordering near to everything, but boy did he do well. With our bellies stuffed to the brim, we would have died happy bunnies if we'd suffered an untimely accident after that meal.

Tomorrow we need to plan out how we can get to Vietnam. Oh and we just found out that the High-speed rail is only available between Beijing and Shanghai so it looks like more sleeper buses for Mike and Jess.

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