The Great Wall: China Day 2Posted by in Life
The day after we arrived in Beijing, I had a trip scheduled for us to go to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Having done my research, this section seemed like a good choice because it is less crowded than the Badaling section (often wall to wall people) and it has a really fun cable car ride up and a toboggan slide down.
I booked our ride through The Schoolhouse. Every Sat/Sun they take guests from Beijing to Mutianyu and back for only 120RMB (about $17). Once we purchased our tickets to enter and our cablecar/toboggan tickets, we spent about $65 for the day for the two of us. I had researched a lot of other tours where you would spend about that much or more per person and you only get a few hours at the wall and the bus makes multiple stops at tourist traps like tea and jade shops. I was grateful for the ride with just about 10 other people with no stops. The only drawback I could think of was that we had to walk from the School House (about a mile) up to the entrance and then I was so tired by the early afternoon that we still had about 3 hours before the bus left to go back to Beijing. I would certainly recommend this area and method of transport to anyone planning a visit to the Great Wall at Mutianyu. And now, to our adventure!
Like I mentioned, we got tickets to ride up the cable car. They have an open one and a closed one. The open one is like a ski lift and drops you off near one end of the wall and the closed one drops you off at another section. We chose the open cable car. I was a bit nervous and you might be able to see that I was talking in the picture about how scared I was and I didn’t want to drop my phone. I didn’t bother trying to get another “take” because I was a bit nervous on the way up. You can also notice that I was already sweating profusely. The humidity was crazy and the hike just to get to the entrance of the cable car was substantial. I had no idea what was awaiting me.
Where you get off the cable car, you have a choice to go right or left onto the wall. We chose right. It also turned out to be the right thing to do since that section was by far the most difficult trek. If we had saved that for the end, I never would have made it up.
We hadn’t traveled too far up when I snapped this picture but already I was amazed at how high we had climbed. Can you see how the people are having to lean over just to climb up the steps? They were so steep! Coming down was a lot worse than going up, that’s for sure.
I took this picture to illustrate a few things. First, I thought I might give up and this was as high as I was going to go. Secondly, I needed to show how my hair was totally sweat through and my glasses wouldn’t even stay up on my face because I was so sweaty. One girl coming down told me to keep going and that it wasn’t that much farther so I sucked it up and kept going. At this point we were just about to tower 3.
I made it to tower 2 even higher up before I gave up. There was just one more tower but it was STRAIGHT UP and I had no more left to give as evidenced by the following picture. I got a little more red.
Carl was sweating too but he was in better spirits and went all the way up to tower 1 while I hung out.
I was much happier when we were going down (even though it was harder on my legs) but I really wanted to get to the “easier” section of the wall so I could enjoy the walk a little more because there were fewer stairs. I really tried not to whine and complain too much because I was on the Great freaking Wall in China! It made me feel for all of those men that had to work to build this thing and didn’t survive. I sure appreciate their efforts because this thing is truly a wonder of the world. It just kicked my trash and I could barely walk when we were done.
See? I’m happy and sweaty and showing off one part of the wall I climbed behind me. I finally had to take my glasses off because they kept sliding off my face. When we were about to go down off the wall, Carl offered me a bandana. I could have used that about 4 hours earlier! It helped having that tied around my head. Yeah, I’m cool like that. No shame. Okay, maybe a little since I didn’t take a picture of me with that on.
Oh wait, I think Carl did. I may post it when I upload the pics from his camera.
Speaking of Carl, he like the cannon.
We both liked the toboggan ride down. It was pretty fun. It only took about 3 minutes to toboggan down the hill and I really enjoyed the breeze and the views. My legs appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to walk down any more stairs!
Doesn’t that look fun? The rest of the day was spent walking back down to The Schoolhouse, waiting around for a couple of hours, eating dinner (check out my Real Food Really Good blog in the next week or two for details on that), and then falling asleep on the bus back to Beijing. I took a shower immediately upon my return and promptly fell asleep around 9pm and slept all night long-which was good because day 3 includes MORE WALKING around Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.