The Great Wall of China.
“Chang cheng” – long wall – this marvel of human engineering and pure sweat is spectacular to see in person. And boy, did I sweat a lot on the Wall during our visit.
The Wall is built of stone and earth. Some crumbled sections date to the B.C. years, but most of the Wall was built during the Ming dynasty (around 1300 to 1600). The Wall was built to protect China from people to the north. In some places the stairs are so tall and steep that I was practically crawling along on my hands and knees.
One aspect of this study abroad program I didn’t think of before I arrived in China was that I cannot choose everything that I want to do here. For example, I hate crowds. I want to see my glorious monuments in peace. So when I found out our group would be visiting the Great Wall, I lobbied hard to drive a little further and walk a gorgeously deserted section and not the major tourist attraction that is the Badaling section. I had done all this research before I left on which are the best sections to go to, and I laid them all out for our organizers. I was assured by our organizers that we would be going to a less touristy section. But, when we arrived …
We were at Badaling. Look at the undulating wave of tourists dragging themselves up the Great Wall:
That’s a lot of people. I’m not easily disappointed, but I’m going to admit something to you guys – I thought I was going to cry. I was so disappointed. My one chance ever to see the Great Wall, and I was going to have to fight my way among the hundreds of tourists. Lesson learned … well, there is no lesson. There was nothing I could have done about it.
Anyway, the disappointment didn’t last all that long because the Great Wall is a wonder wherever you see it. I turned right instead of left when I reached the entrance to the Wall because the right is a harder climb and therefore less popular. We practically had this section of the wall to ourselves!
On the way up!
I’m surprised at how tall many of the stairs were. These steps must have seemed insurmountable, especially in heavy armor.
The wall in this section is almost entirely restored, except for a few patches here and there.
Once we reached the top, we could go no further because the Wall was unwalkable beyond that point.
I can see why:
Walking down was just as hard. The stress on the knees is pretty high!
Check out this video of my perspective when walking down the wall:
And of the view from the Great Wall:
Don’t you just feel like you’re there with me? :)
For the rest of the post, I’m just going to show you pictures of scenery and such because, well, they’re pretty.
We also climbed up the other, more touristy side, but there was no difference on this side except for more tourists and more stands with people hawking junk. I’ll just ignore that aspect of the Wall and remember the fun part :)
Have a great day, everyone!
****P.S. By request of my professor, I’ve started a blog for our study abroad program. Check it out here if you’re interested: UConn Pharmacy in Beijing. I won’t be writing all of the posts, just the first one you see :)
****P.P.S. I know I’ll be trying Samantha‘s strength-training exercises when I get back from China. Will you?? I haven’t done any formal exercise since I’ve been in Beijing, but I’ve been walking everywhere, and if you read the UConn Pharmacy in Beijing link, you’ll see other ways I got a little exercise! :)