We Climbed the Great Wall

21:16 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

The Great Wall is one of the most iconic landmarks for China. Right up there at the top of every tourists wish list.

So, understandable, the wall itself is jam packed with tourists and those catering to the tourists.

We got an early start out to the wall, hoping to beat the crowds. So after a quick stop at the jade shop (courtesy of our tour guides), we found ourselves there.

Already at 9:30 am, in April, it was teeming with tourists. We posed for our pictures at the bottom and from there, as we looked up the mountain, we made a goal to make it to the top.

And so the climb began. It was actually a bit precarious. There were so many people, so many steps, very uneven and worn steps, and a low handrail causing people to hunch over to use it. Add to that the people stopping to catch their breath or take a photo, and it doesn't make for easy going.

Luckily, the higher up you go, the fewer people there are in your way. Unfortunately, the higher you go, the harder it gets for anyone (ergh, me) that doesn't work out regularly. As you climb to the top, there are towers to mark your way. Some allow for nice photo opportunities, some allow for you to shop from vendors for trinkets to mark your visit. For me, they were mile markers, marking my progress, giving me an excuse to stop for a water break and shed more layers of clothes.

Just over an hour after we started, we made it to the top.We had reached the end, nothing more to climb up, just a view across the expanse of mountains, or at least what little of them you could see through the haze. We took a moment to glance across the landscape, catch our (my) breath, revel in our accomplishment. Then it was time to head back down. Here the path diverges, to the left, Mongolia, to the right, China. We stuck to the right, as we were told by our guide, and perhaps because while we had defeated one part of the wall, we weren't quite ready to face the peaks of the other route.

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