Saturday, November 17, 2012

Beijing Part Three: The Great Wall

For the past five months, I have been dreaming about and planning the kinds of photos I would take from the Great Wall of China.  I had been hoping to get some panoramic shots of a sprawling, majestic wall and breathtaking Chinese countryside.   Sort of like the photo below that I ripped off the Internet.
A girl can dream, right? 
However, that is not what happened during our trip to the Great Wall. As you can see from my Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square post, it was a rainy day when we visited the Wall, so we got some shots of a different kind.

After lunch we took a 1.5 hour drive to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall.  We chose this area for a few reasons:
1)   It is less touristy and crowded than the Badaling section of the wall.
2) Visitors can take a cable car to the top of the wall instead of making a 40 minute uphill hike.
3) Visitors can toboggan down the wall when they finish their visit. 

Since it was raining during our trip, we were not able to toboggan down the wall.  However, we did take a nice ride in an enclosed cable car to the top of the wall. 

This was our cozy ride to the top.
About halfway up our foggy ride, I could not believe what was happening.  Snow was starting to fall!  It makes sense; high altitudes plus rain plus freezing temperatures equals snow.  This was NOT what I expected for our Great Wall trip.
We made it to the top!

We stepped off the cable car and trekked up the slippery, uneven stairs to the top of the wall to find a full on snowball fight! 
Snowball Fight!!!
A friendly tourist smiles before pelting the snowball.
The Great Wall was something like you would see in a dream.  The winding, hilly, slippery path led to the clouds. 
Chris slips down the wall.  I never realized how many steps there were on top of the wall.
Once we were on top of the wall, I could not quit laughing.  "This is insane," was my only thought.
There were little gun holes all along the wall where soldiers could stick their weapons.  Very clever!
Tony models what to do if we slip on the wall.
We slid along the wall for about 30 minutes when we made the call that it was getting too icy to walk.  So, we made the cable car trip back down and warmed up during the two hour car ride back to Beijing. 
This will definitely be a trip I remember!
I do plan on visiting the Great Wall again to get the perfect shot, however I do not think I will do so in the winter.  I guess I now have a little more time to plan for the summer.  Next’s duck time!