Travbuddy's takeover the Great Wall of China!
Huang Hua Great Wall Travel Blog› entry 311 of 658 › view all entries
People I met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Charlene, Steve and Lisa (USA)
It was a 07.30 start on Wednesday, to ensure it gave us enough time to reach Dongzhimen Long Distance Bus Station, where we had arranged to meet Charlene, Steve and Lisa. The bus station wasn't really what i envisaged, for the best part it was just a load of bus stops on the road. As we had arrived a little early we had time to sample some street food for breakfast, which contained egg, cracker, paste and dough. I have no idea what it was or what its called, but i do know that it hit the spot.
Thankfully the guys were persistent in finding us, as at one stage we thought that our meeting may go pear shaped, due to there been no real central terminal, like we had arranged to meet at.
Arriving at the base of the wall in Huang Hua, i was surprised at how few people were there. To be exact, there was an old man and 3 old women all trying to sell us souvenirs and that was it. The 5 of us crossed the dam of a reservoir to reach the wall and here encountered an old woman who was levying a 2RMB ($0.
Walking along a dirt path up to the wall, a wooden ladder was clearly visible propped up against one of the Worlds most well known structures and we initially joked that this was probably the entrance, only to find that it actually was! A few Chinese girls who had just come down assured us that this was in fact the correct way to gain access, which didn't particularly sit well with Lisa and Charlene who are afraid of heights! Steve on the other hand was like a kid in the playground and was up the ladder faster than a ferret up a drainpipe!
Eventually the 5 of us clambered onto the wall and there were two things that struck me.
Clambering up the wall was great fun, as the wind gusted in and threatened to blow you off the steep drop offs next to the walls edge. Towering mountain ranges, with the wall snaking off into the distance provided the backdrop as slowly but surely we ascended to the highest points. After 50 minutes we were at the top of a ridge, which offered sublime views, and the engineering feat from this perspective seemed completely unimaginable.
At this particular section of wall, it is said that each inch of masonry represented one days work of a laborer. This impressive statistic led to Lord Cai's execution, as the government believed it was rather an unnecessary overindulgence. If its any consolation to the poor chap, i thought it was some bloody good work, i take my hat off to you sir!
Beacon towers, parapets and impressive ramparts appeared at regular sections of wall and it made for a really inspiring day out. Why no-one else was there, i have no idea, but in all the time we spent, we only ran into 2 other Westerners, as we were heading off the wall and 2 small groups of Chinese youths. My recommendation would be to get your bum there as fast as possible, before China's best kept secret is finally unearthed!
After the minivan ride back to Huairou, we were all famished and ended up in KFC, even though Lisa and Charlene are vegetarians.