27.01.2011 - 14.02.2011 11 °C
Just got back from a tour the Hotel organised for us to see the "Great Wall'. The bus left at 8am and along the way we stopped to pick up a Swedish doctor and also some pommy backpackers. The first place we stopped was the Ming Tombs where 13 Ming Dynasty Emperors were buried. It was a nice stroll down a road called 'the spirit way' which was lined with statues of guardian animals as the tour guide explained the history. It would've been kinda boring without the guide really. Our next stop was a bit unexpected as we found ourselves in a jade museum. One we wanted to really avoid as all they are is a scam to buy jade. The entrance was a museum, the rest was a shop and we were soon being followed around by sales people. Its understandable to try and get tourists to spend money but this place was a bit out of our league. China is supposed to be cheap. We also had lunch planned as part of the tour package and lo and behold behind a curtain there was a restaurant. So it became obvious this was a place just to bring tourists to. Our next stop was even more bizarre as we arrived at a 'Chinese medicine clinic' LOL. Does China want to promote Chinese medicine to westerners? Why wasn't any of this on the brochure? So we all had a checkup where the 'doctor' could tell if we were healthy by checking our pulse and then of course tried to prescribe us some 'medicine'. So by now it was after midday and we were getting annoyed at all these unexpected stops and wasted time. But finally we eventually arrived at the 'Great Wall' where we proceeded to take in the scenery and enjoy the views...
The Great Wall is also considered The Longest Cemetary in the World, if you want to be morbid. Apparently they would put the dead into the walls and build over them. Though there are so many different types of sections of the wall, each has a story of its own.
We arrived the at the Mutianya section. There was very little crowd which felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. We caught a chairlift to tower 14 and admiring the view we headed towards tower 21. We dressed for -10 °C but it was closer to 10 °C so we could feel the heat soon after. The walk wasn't as pleasent as I had imagined. The path was uneven and marjority of the walk was steep, after walkiing for over an hour we finally reached the last point, a 450 step staircase to lead us to the highest tower. You are literally crawling up the staircase to reach the top but the view was worth it and we were immediately offered to buy snickers from one of the vendors. The Swedish docotor was funny, and drank a can of beer for a boost. The Journey back to the bus was quicker and by sundown we arrived back at the hotel.