Right, I shall kick this off with two apologies. Firstly, it’s been a couple of days. I will try and be more regular with my posts. The second is I was going to call this post ‘ain’t no mountain high enough’, turns out there were plenty.
One of the reasons for visiting China was to see the land, learn about its heritage and sample some of the culture before it changes indefinitely, as its dragged into the 21 century. The other was the Great Wall! I don’t normally sign up for organised trips. I feel they are usually over priced and lead you into spending more. While this was the case, I’m glad I shelled out the 280rmb (some £35) to the gaff for this.
We meet 7am in the bar come brekkie area for some cold toast, runny eggs and something that looked like a chipolata had been out in the sun too long. We get the call to bunce in with another two hostels on a bus and we’re off. The journey takes 90mins and we have an English speaking guide called Tony (yeah right, if that’s his name). He’s got some good bants tho and has the bus smiling and laughing. He tells us about the history of the wall. Old (2000yo) and new (700yo) built parts. He warns us about our time on the wall, where to go, how far to go and what to look out for.
We arrive and HAVE to get off the bus to walk through the village at the bottom. I say village, it’s really a giant gift shop, lots of sellers with ‘Great Wall’, hats, fridge magnets, necklaces and overpriced water and the likes. Soo commercial! Tony has warned us. It’s a requirement to walk thru, but we quickly shuffle through and back on the bus to the main car park, where we will have lunch later once we return. We get off the bus and quickly walk up to the ticket office. Some 500 metres up a steep hill at a pace.
At this point I give you warning. I’m some 21 stone, overweight and unfit. This may not come as a surprise. I have a tank tho, its full, but it’s one paced. Last up the hill, Tony makes the point again about taking your time, go your own pace. Don’t go too far, watch your time for the bus back and he uses me as the point as everyone watches me join the group wheezing. Thanks Tony ya rub😈. A Dutch lass I was chatting to on the bus smiles and says should of brought ma running shoes. She’s nice and we get on, but I can’t figure out who her male pal is? He’s no her darling, there is no intimacy or contact while we were on the bus. He just talked about tech and music. I think he’s the one pal who has a bit of candy, that can go to things, you other pals cant go to. contd…
As the photo shows. You can start walking on this part of the wall from section 10, but it’s a 40 min walk up. You can pay 120rmb (£15) to get the cable car, which is a absolute hoot! Scary, but fun and quick, only 5 mins. It takes you to section 14 and from there the walk is up to section 20, where this new part of the wall 1300’s joins the old part 140ad.
I set off, Scotland tote bag with selfie stick, mints, water, shades, jacket and hat if cold. If you have ever been to the Grand Canyon, where you can walk to the edge, it’s sort of like that. Massive steps up and down with very steep inclines, hard work. I want to get to 20, but that’s the top of that mountain, the peak where the walkway ramps right up. I set off, one paced and determined. Every section I walk, the next looks harder, steeper, sorer!
It’s been about 1h 20mins, lots of photo’s and been great. Need to remember the walk back as I arrive at the bottom of the massive ramp up. Can’t do it, too much for me, this time. I’m disappointed, but ken what, on the way back I’m passing some from the bus that never made it that far, so we’ll chuffed. With a second wind I hot tail it back in about 50 mins and succumb to buying a magnet at the top for Kats.
I get the cable car back down to myself (check the video) and have a wee wander before we have a buffet lunch. I’m getting good with the olde chopsticks malarky. No sure why I had to pay 15rmb for a beer tho. We chat, share grub and get back on the bus, cream crackered. If you ever get the chance, dae it, it’s very touristy, but quite romantic and fun.