Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Climbing the Great Wall ...

We took a day trip to a section of wall about 3 hours drive North of Beijing to escape the worst of the crowds, allowing the opportunity for me to climb the 10km section of wall between Jinshanling and Simitai.

The day brought some light drizzle and mist, which, combined with the increased elavation it made for a thankfully cooler (but still 29 degrees) day for the climb. The weather definitely didn't do anything for the photo's, but it certainly made the experience more atmospheric.

We may have escaped most of the tourists, but this had a downside as we subjected to the most organised and persistent display of hawking (books, t-shirts, postcards) that I've experienced anywhere. The ratio of hawkers was about 1:1, which necessitated the golden bullet approach - they each targeted a single person constantly for about 2-3km (1 hour) up and down steep sections of the wall.

Despite the cooler weather it was so humid I must still have lost of couple of litres of fluid on the climb - still there was nothing too technically difficult, but the gradient was fairly relentless, and it required use of hands in quite a few places where the wall had partially collapsed.

Not only is the wall a great feat of engineering, but it's in some of the most rugged terrain that just getting to it would surely have put most potential invaders off.

Ironically the history books say it was so easy to bribe the guards stationed there, that the walls only real success was as a transport route. I for one wouldn't have managed nearly so well had I been portering 50 kilo's of rice ...

The hawkers aside, this was a really great way to see the wall - and an absolute breeze compared to our recent experience on Mt. Fuji ... You can see all the photos from the day here.

1 comment:

zimheidi said...

Hey you two! Those photos are amazing, it certainly earns its name as the great wall of china! Its rained for 6 weeks in England woo hoo! Anyway, keep the news coming and enjoy enjoy enjoy x