Great Wall at Mutianyu
What’s better than watching grown men and women struggle up 5164 steps? Joining in on the fun by signing yourself up for the half or full marathon in Tianjin China. Each Spring in 2000-3000 participants gather to run and crawl their way up and down the largest man-made built barrier in the world. Aside from the wall, runners get to go through a local village and a valley with spectacular views of the China’s iconic wall.
GREAT WALL OF CHINA
A coach picked us next morning from the hostel at 8:30 AM lead by a lovely guide dressed in shocking pink, Monica. Mutianyu is about 90-minute drive from Beijing city and on the way we were briefed on various historical facts about the wall. At some point of time in history every fifth person in China was involved in building the wall to safeguard the Chinese empire from Manchurian and Mongolians. As someone has very rightly put it in the past what was built to keep people away is now a medium to bring people from all over the world together as they want to visit something so magnificent. Mutianyu section is about 2.5 km long and has 22 towers. You could reach on the top by cable cars or if feeling athletic can take a 20-minute hike and save ¥40 for one-way cable car trip. I decided to skip the cable car and started my journey to the great wall on foot with two fellow Belgian boys. After sweating in temperature of 36 degrees with high humidity I reached the top (don’t ask me when was the last time I was in gym). From here you can either turn right of the wall which is in more in its original form with some six towers on steep curves of the hills or turn left which is largely restored and evenly slopped. I headed right, easier side first,walked up to fourteenth tower and turned back to get to more historic sections. The climb here was really stiff with knee high steps. Miley Cyrus blaring loudly in my ears “I wanna fly, I wanna drive, I wanna go… I wanna be a part of something I don’t know… And if you try to hold me back I might explode” with Can’t Be Tamed kept pushing me. What Chairman Mao has quoted time and again is debatable but when he said “He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man” there are absolutely no two ways. Every time that whiff of air hit you in the dense forests surroundings the wall it reminded how soothing it would have been for guards protecting their dynasties in most extreme living conditions. Slopping down the mountains on wheeled toboggan ride down from the wall was awesome. It’s like being on a roller coaster with absolutely no external controls, you decide the speed and you be your own complete master. After all that exercise I was damn hungry and Monica had arranged for a very authentic Chinese meal experience. It was group of ten eclectic people being served ten different Chinese dishes to be shared. I found sharing food Chinese tradition more intimate experience than cold distant Western culture of sticking with what you ordered and your plate! We were back at hostel by early evening. After resting for a while stepped out for dinner and had the most delicious tofu dish at a local restaurant.Day 07: When Floaters Meets Stiletto
Great Wall Of China The grandeur of the Great Wall of China can't be felt unless and until you yourself experience it! The great architecture takes your breath away! The lush green forests surrounding it, the trans-siberian train passing underneath it... everything is just picture-perfect!
For the last stop of the day we all went to visit the Qinglong Gorge. This was all outside and the place was gorgeous! We got to tour the gorge via boat then a ski lift! The view was breathtaking and I highly recommend this place to any nature lover! At the top of the ski lift one could ride horses through the trails. This area also had parts of the Great Wall.
Great Wall of Badaling
I took the 877 bus to Badaling wall. The 877 bus stop is next to it. You pay when you get onto the bus. CNY 12 per person. Quite a comfortable trip. On the bus, there was a kind guide who provided information about the Great Wall of China. Honestly, I never thought there would be a guide to tell us all these information in the first place for a public bus and at this considerably cheap price. He would tell you the do and don`ts; where to get the best view; the time to come back for the last bus; etc. It was an unexpected good service. Some of the walkway could be quite steep. And the steps are knee high. It was quite tough. Firstly, I thought of going to the highest point. Gave up when I reached the 5th station. (9th being the highest).Nevertheless, despite the hardship of climbing it. It was still an adventure. After returning from the North Side. I had some sausages before I went to the South Side. Sausage are the the staple snack food for the Chinese. You will see it everywhere.
Be picked up from your hotel by an English-speaking tour guide and private vehicle at 08:30 am. Drive 1.5 hours to Ming Tombs. The Ming Tombs are the final resting place of 13 Ming Dynasty emperors, along with 23 empresses and a number of concubines. It has a history of over 600 years. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, the Ming Tombs feature splendid landscape. Chang Ling (the Tomb of Chang) was built by the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1409 AD. Chang Ling is the largest tomb in architectural scale. The hall of Chang Ling is the largest structure of nanmu wood in China.