Monday, July 22, 2013

The Great Wall of China

Along with the Forbidden City the other "must do" in Beijing is the Great Wall of China, which is a few miles north of the city.

Even more than the Forbidden City it was overwhelming in its scale. You can see its line dotted with forts string its way up and down hills as far as the eye can see, and yet you can only see a fraction of it at any one time.

Apparently you can't actually see it from space as its not wide enough, but boy is it long. According to Wikipedia, with all its branches and counting those bits that have weathered away, there could have been as much as 21,196 km of it.
The most touristy section which is familiar from all those photo-ops with foreign dignitaries is Badaling which is meant to be pretty commercial and not very authentic.

I did a hiking tour from Simatai to Jinshanling which was about 7 km with lots of up and down so it was a good thing I had three bottles of water with me.
It was a good hike though not as uplifting as I'd expected. There was something relentless about how it just keeps on going, how you can never "do" the Great Wall.

You will be defeated, eventually, simply by the scale of the Great Wall.


Tillerman said...

My only visit to Beijing was very short - only a few days and very busy with work. But we did get to walk around the Forbidden City and visit the Great Wall. Would be nice to go back one day with more time and explore some of the lesser known attractions.

JP said...

Sounds a lot like mine!

The old summer palace is on my to-do list if I go back, though of course the history might be a little awkward, given it was raised to the ground us Brits.