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.