Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Great Wall Of China

So, you're a member of a group of nomadic pillagers or perhaps you just happen to be walking through the mountains of Asia after the mid 1400s and you come across something that you probably can't believe. It's a wall without end. You're just arrived at what we now call the Great Wall of China.

The Great Wall was built as a barrier to help defend against invaders from the north. The actual wall part (as opposed to the non-stone wall sections) is about 4000 miles (6300 km) long and it's believed that the entire barrier is about 55o0 miles (8900 km) long. The area of the wall that I visited is called Badaling and it's about two-to-three hours north of Beijing. There are actually three different "near-to-Beijing" sections of the wall that tourists can visit. The closest is supposedly the most crowded and commercial. The farthest is the least developed/commercial but it takes much longer to get to. I've been told that Badaling is a great balance of the two.

Upon pulling in to the Badaling parking area you're inundated by locals selling the usual tourist souvenirs, but wait, what's that up ahead? Is it a chairlift like they have at the ski resorts? Yep. You can take a chairlift up to the top of the mountain to get to the wall:

Taking the chairlift up probably saves you about a half-hour of pretty tough uphill walking. Either way, once you get to the top you're greeted with an amazing view:

Yes, that's the wall extending along the tops of the mountains for as far as you can see:

Going to the Great Wall is definitely in the same league as visiting the pyramids in Egypt. When you're there you can't believe you're there. You're standing on something that you've read about and seen pictures of all your life and you're actually there. Look, I'm actually there:

So I told you about the chairlift to get up the mountain but, guess what, your chairlift ticket includes a ride down the mountain on a toboggan. If the chairlift seems out of place, the toboggan will definitely challenge your ideas. Here's a self portrait while going down the mountain:

Overall review? Wow!


  1. Look Dar! There you are.
    It must be worth it just for the cool ride down.

  2. Looking like you've been able to get in some gym time, too!


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