China (Part 4) – The Great Wall

My colleague and I joined a guided tour that included a sleepover on the Great Wall. Yes. A. Sleepover. On. The. Great. Wall. We were bundled up in sleeping bags under the stars in one of the watchtowers. I didn’t get to sleep much as I kept thinking “I’m on the Great Wall in China. I’m on the Great Wall in China.” I didn’t get much sleep but was happy anyways.

The next morning, I was up at 4am waiting for the sunrise. The sun came up at about 5 and I started taking pictures like mad. I got a bit frustrated as I didn’t get the images I wanted and after a couple of minutes I just stopped myself and decided to turn off the cameras and enjoy the experience of being there. It was breathtaking!

After the sunrise and a breakfast (muesli, bananas and tea) we headed out for our hike. We walked 8km between Jinshanling and Samatai and it took us 4 hours. With many water breaks. We were so glad we got out early, firstly because of the heat and secondly as we only encountered something like 15 other tourists walking the Wall until we got close to Samatai. We arrived there when most tourists get there from Beijing to start their hike…

And our tour group? Well, it consisted of me, my colleague and a guide. We also had a driver, but he didn’t join us for the walk.

Sunset Sunset over the Great Wall on June 4th, 2010. This is in Jinshanling.

Sunrise 1 Watching the sunrise the next morning was breathtaking…

Scenery …as was the scenery around the Great Wall…

Original part Some parts of the Wall are still all original and you really have to watch where you place your feet. Also, the sides of the Wall were torn down in many places and a couple of times I was happy my mother didn’t see me walking steep parts with no particularly high walls to my sides…

Climbing a steep section …like here for example. This section was more than 100 steps high and it was steep. As was the mountain sides we’d roll down if we fell out.

Going to work We were walking here for the experience, but we met a couple of men and women who walk sections of the wall every single day to earn money. They bring mostly water bottles and hope for tourists that haven’t brought enough for themselves. Most of these men and women were older than 60, and they walked up and down these sections every day… Carrying loads of water bottles and some souvenir t-shirts. I was in awe.

Old, but still standing The watchtowers vary a lot when it comes to what condition they’re in. Some are restored, some are original but still in good shape and others look like this one does. It has two standing walls and no roof. Some of these watchtowers have more than one floor.

Going up My colleague and our guide walking a bit ahead of me.

And to round off this post, this is my favorite picture of the sunrise we were a part of. It’s overexposed but I love it.
Overexposed sunrise

Next part of this series of mine will take you to the 2010 Expo in Shanghai

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3 responses to “China (Part 4) – The Great Wall

  1. Pingback: China (Part 3) – The Spirit Way and Ming Tomb area | Alias AnnaJM

  2. Pingback: Series of pictures from China | Alias AnnaJM

  3. What an absolutely amazing experience & great set of photos!!

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