The Great Wall of China

I had high expectations of the Great Wall of China, it was the main reason I chose China to participate in my Asian adventures, and yesterday it not only exceeded my expectations, it hit 100% of my Wow Factor Odometre.. FULL CAPACITY!

We entered the Wall from JinshanLing in Beijing, from here we had access to reach six of the towers and around 11km’s of the wall, not including the 30 minute trek up a mountain you had to take before even reaching this entry point of the Wall.

The Jinshanling portion of the Wall was not a ‘walk’. Don’t let anybody ever tell you that it is – It is a hike! It’s not smooth flat walkways. It’s steep, rubbly and in ruins with some sections not even having a wall to stop you from toppling over the edge!

The steps to reach the towers range from 10 giant steps made out of stone to hundreds of tiny brick steps. On the Wall you have to chose your path carefully or you could end up with a sprained ankle and debris in your face.

The view from the wall is breathtaking. Foliage covered mountains for as far as the eye can see with the Wall snaking its way through the land.

TIP – Do not let any of the old Chinese ladies that just seem to hang out on the Wall, assist you with anything. I was trying to put on my poncho and one of these ladies held up the left arm for me, next thing I know she’s following me like a shadow wanting to help with everything, and also wanting to get paid – I had to hot leg it to get away! Don’t let their age or looks fool you, they have the speed and agility of a mountain goat. As I heard one American man in his early thirties say to his old lady shadow while he climbed a steeper part of the wall, ‘ I feel like I should be the one helping you

The air in the mountains is fresh and clean, unlike the city of Beijing, and when you’re hiking the Great Wall, the combination of spectacular views, the intense activity, and the fact that you’re standing on one of the greatest monuments in the world, that holds so much history, so much respect, and had taken (literally taken) thousands of lives to build, fills you with utter awe. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. And this is true also when including all the surreal acid tripping experiences of my younger years.

The Wall humbled the Forbidden City, which also has an amazing history but was like an ant in comparison.

I reached the end of the Jinshanling portion of the Wall with Waily, the only other person able to keep up with my fast pace. We had lost 90 minutes of our hiking time through traffic and only had 3hrs to complete as much as we could before needing to return to the entry at 2.30pm for a buffet lunch – an excellent incentive to move quickly.

Other groups had dropped behind or didn’t make it to the end. If you were scared of heights, were with a family with children or an elderly, or were generally unfit, you weren’t gonna make it.

Girlfriend, panting ‘I want to turn back’
Boyfriend ‘but we’re almost at the first tower’
Girlfriend ‘I want to turn back, do you want to turn back?’
Boyfriend, looking at the first tower only a metre incline ahead of him, looks back at girlfriend, ‘OK.’ Depressed undertone.

Advice for those of you who come to China to complete the Great Wall ‘LEAVE YOUR LOVED ONES BEHIND!’ I dont mean at home, I mean leave them behind on the Wall, and meet up with them later on exit = )

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mark
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 07:03:54

    wow , Wow , WOW ! Do you think Hiro & Sumo would have made it?


  2. dana
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 13:19:18

    Hey Tiara,
    I think what you are doing is awesome 🙂 I’m loving the running commentary of all that you are getting up to. You make me laugh after all these years. Take care, soak it all in and keep smiling 🙂



  3. Jax
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 19:03:39

    Poppy would have loved it! Perfect for tiring her out. You must be really fit, Tiara.


  4. Tiara in Transit
    Aug 08, 2010 @ 05:44:57

    Poppy must be so big now!! she’s have to do the wall twice a day!


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