The Great Wall of China, the star of epic historical tales and one of the seven wonders of the medieval world. It’s the cover girl for China featuring in brochures, calendars, postcards and on the most tacky souvenirs. Going to China and not visiting the Great Wall would be like going to Egypt and not seeing the pyramids you just wouldn’t do it. So naturally it was on the top of my list of things to see while I was in Beijing.
I was so excited to finally get the chance to visit The Great Wall even if it was to the restored tourist section (it was much to cold to hike to the un-restored portion). Seeing The Great Wall for the first time was a WOW moment and not because I found it to be a spectacular image but because I was finally here snapping away with my overworked camera.
Seeing the wall was the first big WOW but getting the chance to climb it was really what me and hundreds of other tourist had came here for. That and the bragging rights to say “Hey, I’ve climbed The Great Wall of China, have you?”
Now originally I thought climb was an over exaggerated way to say stroll along the wall, after all this wasn’t exactly a cliff we were scaling. However within minutes of ‘strolling’ The Great Wall I finally understood why they say climb.
No one had ever told me that I would need months of training to prepare for the strenuous walk. This is where a few months of using a squat toilet would of come in handy. I would then have had thighs of steel ready to take on any incline no matter how steep. The steep inclines and uncountable steps never seemed to end.
Puffing, panting and lagging behind the rest of the group I slowly step by step made my way up only to then go down then head up the next lot of waist high steps. On my many rest breaks between the puffing and panting I was able to take in the spectacular view (disappointingly veiled with a thin layer of smog). If I’d had any breath left the view probably would of taken it away. It was at this point that I was grateful that my group had decided to take the steeper left hand side leaving behind the tourist masses.
I’m now in preparation (thanks to my squat toilet) for atempting on my next Great Wall Workout in the summer to an un-restored section off the tourist trail.
Tip: You may be tempted to buy a panda hat or one of the many fantastically tacky souvenirs for sale at the wall. My advice to you is restrain yourself (I know it will be tough). Everything at the Great Wall is grossly overpriced, even with bargaining it can be as much as three times more expensive than you pay elsewhere in Beijing. If you like me see yourself walking around in a panda hat then the area around Tiananmen Square is the place where you can bag your self a panda hat bargain!