Sunday, March 25, 2012

[ 12 / 52 ]

Week Twelve : It Really is a Great Wall
Week 12
Far and away the highlight of my recent trip to Beijing was the Great Wall of China.

It. Is. Freaking. Awesome.

Pictures really don't do it justice (not that that stopped me from trying) and it's difficult to find the words to describe it. The Great Wall is absolutely one of the wonders of the world and there is no substitute for being there yourself. Seeing the way it endlessly winds up and down the mountains is absolutely mind blowing. If it had been built yesterday we would still be declaring it a monumental achievement and a testimony to the awesomeness of mankind, so that fact that it is hundreds of years old only makes it that much more impressive.

We'd actually tried to go to the wall a couple days earlier but failed thanks to some spotty directions from a guidebook (read: the bus station it told us to go to doesn't exist). Wanting to avoid a possible tourist rush on Saturday, we decided to wait an extra day and try again (with new directions) on Sunday. The temperature proceeded to drop dramatically and we thought we had missed our best chance. Instead, Saturday night brought a light snowfall and Sunday greeted us with a rare sunny day, offering up pleasant weather and gorgeous views of the wall.

There are several points you can climb the wall near Beijing. We opted for Mutianyu, which is supposed to be much less touristy and restored than the more popular Badaling location. Next time, I'd like to try making the 10km hike from Simatai to Jinshanling, which is supposed to be much less restored and really incredible.

Most people recommended I visit Shanghai instead of Beijing, especially for this time of year. Really the only reason that I stuck with Beijing was that I wanted to climb the Great Wall before moving back to the US. And you know what: once I was up on the wall looking out over the surrounding mountains I knew I had made the right choice.

Camera Info: Canon 7D | 19mm | f/ 8.0 | ISO 160 | 1/320 s

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