Friday, April 2, 2010

The Great Wall

Tower WindowWhat a day! The Great Wall is so far my favorite sight. I had originally intended to do some of the unrestored sections, but that plan fell through. So instead I booked with a nearby hostel. I did the hike from Jinshaling to Simatai, approximately ten kilometers along the wall, passing through thirty-one guard towers with very nice views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

Everything worked out quite well. I was a little hesitant when I found out the tour I booked was made up of twenty some people, but we quickly spread out when we started hiking. For a while I was further ahead and had much of the wall to myself. In the group I met Lorraine and Ray from Ireland, who I accompanied for much of the hike. It was great to have some good company and good conversation, as I've been having a lot of trouble communicating with non-English speakers. Next time I'll have to put a lot more effort into learning the local language.

A photo of me curtosy of LorraineThe hike really didn't feel like ten kilometers and part of me wishes it was a little bit longer. We ended it with a ride with a zip line and over a river. The tour also included a dinner at a restaurant in Simatai. What a relaxing day! On the three hour bus ride back to Beijing, I spent a good amount of time exchanging information about Canada and Ireland with Ray. It'd be nice to be able to visit Ireland someday.

I'm a little concerned now though, as I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I'm thinking of going to Pingyao, Xi'an or Zengzhou and for either one the best way is the train. Everything I've read says that you have to book the train a few days in advance to get a ticket. Tomorrow I'll go over to the train station to see if I can get one right away. If not, I may have to spend an extra day or two in Beijing.

Jingshalin Gate:

Jingshalin Gate

A few guard towers:

First few towers

Towers along the wall

Towers along the wall

More towers

A man selling water, beer and hats:

A man selling water, beer and hats

Ray and Lorraine:

Ray and Lorraine

Some of the loose sections:

Some sections are pretty loose

Simatai and zip line area:

The part where we took the zip line

P.S. Noticed my comments were restricted to register accounts only. I've changed that so that anyone can leave a comment. Feel free to comment, it encourages me to do this blog.


Anonymous said...

you do take the most amazing trips....keep up the blog....really enjoy it...I was in Beijing visiting Jane Meyer in 2002, nice to see it thru your eyes.....take care, travel safe..sharon

Unknown said...

The sky is high, the clouds are pale,
We watch the wild geese vanish southward.
If we fail to reach the Great Wall we are not men,
We who have already measured twenty thousand li
High on the crest of Mount Liupan,
Red banners wave freely in the west wind.
Today we hold the long cord in our hands,
When shall we bind fast the Grey Dragon?
Marko, you are a great man, who reached The Great Wall as Mao wanted to get to it in October1935. Do you think the mount Liupan is somewhere in the surrounding of the great wall? Maybe, Sheena knows the answer better than you? Waiting for her response!
See more over the dragon country,

Anonymous said...

Wow, amazing pictures, Marco! Thanks for taking us all along on your great adventure,


Phil said...

Fantastic pics. Marko, as always. I'd go to Xian to look at the Terracotta Army & Mount Huashan but I think the decision will probably be based on when you can leave Beijing. Zhengzhou is more modern China so of less interest to me but Pingyao looks interesting - decisions decisions decisions, that's why I love travel :-)

Mandy said...

Nice Marko...I was suppose to be there in 2008, and now I want to go even more! Not sure about that zipline though.

And no, I never sleep.

Keep the posts coming.

Mandy said...

oh ya, and I vote Xi'an text...terracotta to see them

Marko said...

Aarmaan, I have heard this Mao saying. Unfortunately I will not be going to this section of the Great Wall, it's a bit out of the way for what I have in mind. It sounds like a pretty interesting area though. I read a bit about it here:

Phil, yeah the guidebook doesn't have much for Zhengzhou, however there are a lot interesting places surrounding it. The mountains near the Shaolin temple seem quite nice.

Phil said...

Where ever you go you'll have fun & your sign language skills are bound to improve. One of my lasting memories is not being able to converse, so making signs like a chicken to indicate food preferences and then getting a bowl of chicken feet - yuk!! Another amazing experience was having butter tea with a Monk at a Buddhist Monastery in the middle of what seemed like no where! This is what traveling is all about, these lasting unexpected memories. I'm envious. Lots of fun :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, you have definitely become a world-class photographer Marko and we all love reading the blogs of your travels - keep them coming!


p.s. The waterfall for April is beautiful too!

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