Change Yourself…Change The World.

The Great Wall of China
May 20, 2010, 6:28 pm
Filed under: China

Hi friends,

Well, we did it. Yesterday we climbed the Great Wall of China.

There are actually five Great Walls in Beijing, and you can go to any of them. The closest one to us was Juyong Guan, which is about an hour’s drive from the city.
While Beijing is pretty flat, the area turned more mountainous when we got to the outskirts of Beijing, and finally the Great Wall was visible. Spreading across the mountains like a twisted snake, it stood glaring in the sun as a relic to one of China’s most amazing feats in history. The Great Wall took centuries to build, and I can’t even begin to fathom how they managed to bring tons and tons of stone up these mountains and establish a huge battle rampart.

Our bus pulled up and suddenly we were there, given about two hours to ‘climb’ the Great Wall. What I didn’t understand previously was that if you want to really see the Great Wall and feel like you’ve encountered it, you need to CLIMB. And there are THOUSANDS of steps. And we’re not talking about those little shallow steps like those regular stairways. No, these are the kind of steps where you need to grasp onto a railing, lift up your leg to your chest, and hoist your entire aching body upwards to keep going.

This proved to be brutal work, at 11 AM when the sun was at it’s peak and it beat down unmercifully on us. I spent most of my time climbing the wall with my cousin Elise, and we were both drenched in sweat by the first quarter. I counted myself thankful that I had my camera with me so that I could stop and take pictures as a break.

But the long climb wasn’t enough to deter us- the Great Wall is really beautiful. It is so ancient and interesting, and the higher up you get, the more of a gorgeous view you have of the surrounding mountains and the steps below you. Fortunately, there are also always watchtowers every few hundred steps, which is dark and has a cool and strong breeze, where you can lay gasping against the cool stone and stare out of the windows at the mountains below (warning: The Great Wall does not have any bathrooms, so after about one or two watchtowers, these places started to stink of urine and disgusting bodily functions. After Elise got a strong whiff of poo, we decided to not enter any more watchtowers. But the first one is nice). Another cool fact is that every few watchtowers are gift shops of sorts, and each one has more cool stuff than the last. The first gift shop had a bunch of magnets and t-shirts that said “I climbed the Great Wall” (though this was one of the lowest parts of the Great Wall), and then the second Gift Shop was actually air-conditioned and housed a bunch of paintings and jewelry.

Elise and I climbed incredibly far (about six or seven watchtowers), but we didn’t know that there was an actual END to the Great Wall in Juyong Guan- and there was. When we finally reached a tower that was pretty high up and we couldn’t tell where the next one was, we decided to call it quits and head back down (we also had only half an hour to walk ALL THE WAY DOWN the Great Wall, which proved to be just as brutal as climbing up). Ahead of us, Donner and Sam heard there WAS a top, climbed to the very top of Juyong Guan (I am so jealous of this- if only I had known!) But regardless, it was such a great experience, and I think that it’s one of the seven worlds that is quite interesting to interact with. With the Taj Mahal and the Colosseum (the two other seven wonders I’ve been to), you look at it from afar and from the inside, but you don’t feel as if you are ON it. For the Great Wall, you need to WORK to be able to appreciate and really see it. I consider myself really lucky that I’ve seen the Great Wall when I’m young and that I had the strength and energy to climb so far (though who am I kidding- Mary Banks, our trip coordinator, is older than my Mother and reached the top of the Great Wall WAY before Elise and I did).

Three out of seven wonders of the world down! I am so lucky.

Much love friends,

4 Comments so far
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Wow Brit, you really make me feel like I’m there, without the sweat and elevated heart rate!
Can’t wait to see the pictures! Thanks for sharing your amazing experiences!! Love to all of you XOXO Mama

Comment by Bonnie Boroian

love that you get to do all this crazy ish… 😀

Comment by Letty

[…] I saw the Great Wall of China in May 2010. Read about it here. […]

Pingback by Change Yourself Goals « Change Yourself…Change The World

I’m so glad I bughot the game of Monsters, Inc. because I got to see the real ending of it…(;_;)…I was so happy.VA:F [1.9.11_1134]please wait…Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)VA:F [1.9.11_1134]Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Comment by Yamamoto

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