Great Wall, Wild Wall – Beijing Day 2

The second day in Beijing, we visited the Great Wall, which is a must if you come to Beijing. We went to the Mutianyu section. I have nothing to compare it with, but I thought it was excellent.

This section of the wall is very popular with tourists, so at the entrance there is quite a big compound of shops, stalls and restaurants. There we bought tickets and got on the bus which took us to the place where the stairs begin. Here I am at the parking lot of the bus:


I don’t know how many stairs there were (Wikipedia says 4000+), but it took us about half an hour to get to the top (some of us were faster, some slower). By top I mean the Great Wall, or the access point where you can actually step on the Great Wall. You can also go up there with a cable car, but we decided that was not proper, so we walked. Below we have Lin Gege and Fabio waiting for our coordinator extraordinaire, Charlene. She said she thought she couldn’t make it, but she did. Proud of her!


On the wall we turned left (west) and started walking. This section of the wall was restored, so it looked like I imagine it looked at the height of its existence. The stairs were of varying heights, some impossibly tall, others ridiculously small, the wall goes up and down (up on average though) and at some points it can be quite steep. It was very sunny and quite hot (note also the blue skies I saw for the first time since I came to China), but the wall has a lot of towers that break up the monotony of the scorching heat of stones with cold and dark passages. You can go straight through them, or veer off to one of the side ones, look out the window and catch your breath.


We went past the cable car station, where Charlene decided to return and wait for us in the valley. We saw a tower high up on the hill and we decided that was our goal.


Since this post is getting a bit long, here is an amazing photo of Alex and Fabio (who is carrying my backpack), to rest your eyes for a bit.


At about what seemed like midway to our carefully chosen goal, we hit the end of the way. It didn’t look like the end of the way, but most people stopped there (of those who got up to here). It was the “official” end of the way, the part that you bought the ticket for. Still, some people climbed over the wall and continued on. We didn’t want to give up on our goal, so we convinced Lin Gege to go on. In the photo below you can see the top of the tower where we climbed over the wall. There was also an archway, but it was walled up with bricks and clearly not intended for use. On it was a sign which tried to discourage people from climbing. You can’t discourage us, you sign!


Now the adventure really began – we were on the unrestored part of the wall, also called wild wall. The sides were crumbling, there were no bricks left in some places. The paved walkway was broken up and further on there was only gravel. The towers were missing most of the roofs and in some we had to properly climb a wall or two to be able to continue.


There were trees growing from the sides and on the wall. For the final ascent, the walkway was very steep and slippery, so it was quite challenging to do it without falling or slipping. It was a lot of fun.

We managed to reach our goal. There were a few Chinese people up there, but not a crowd like there was on the lower parts. The views were amazing and we could see the part of the wall continuing on to the west (pictured on the feature photo at the top).


On the way back, we had to go over the steep and slippery part again, and I decided the way to do it is a crab walk (on all fours, belly up). I still believe that my way was the fastest and the safest, but no one followed my stellar example.

We spent about 5 hours on the Great Wall and I enjoyed it so much. The wild wall was obviously my favourite, but everything else was nice to see as well. This was definitely in my top 3 things I did in Beijing, maybe even number 1.

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