After spending 3 days in Shanghai, we took the train to Beijing! There, we prepared to do a 5 hour hiking tour across old and restored parts of this over 9000 km long wall. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and at 8 in the morning we were picked up by our guide. We drove through beautiful mountain valleys and old villages to a hidden hiking trail. There we started our journey!
See those ruins on the top of the mountains? That’s where we’re going!
Yay! From the top of this old guardhouse, we had a spectacular view over China! We could even see as far as Beijing! It’s amazing to see the wall make its way all across the mountaintops as far as you can see.
From this first guardhouse, we started our hike of the Great Wall! We are going to walk along 9 km, about 0,1 percent of the total length of the Wall. This area was old and ruined, and lucky for us there was no one around! Wow!
Because the Great Wall served as protection from the enemies in the north (such as the Mongolian tribes), the guardposts needed to be occupied 24/7. When someone spotted enemy forces, they would light a fire in their guardpost. The next guardpost would see this fire and light his own etc. This way, Beijing would be informed about enemy troops within 2 hours! The people living in the villages near the Wall are actually descendants from these Wallguards!
The parts we hiked were really overgrown and sometimes very steep. The ruins were beautiful, covered in flowers.
The wall was covered in graffiti, some dating back quite a while. This one was very special! I made a picture of it and it happened to be the date my little nephew was born: 13th of May: right after we came back from China! Coincidence, or did the Wall know…? (He did mess up the year though ;p)
I think we hiked for about 2-3 hours on this old part when we suddenly reached a restored part of the wall (still very old though; rebuilt around 1569!). Here, more and more tourists appeared, because it’s much easier to walk here. Still, we were really lucky it wasn’t crowded. The views were spectacular!
A lot of parts here were loooooooooong stairs. Lucky for us we were heading down! The wall sometimes has angles as steep as 70 degrees!!! Did you know they used special cement infused with sticky rice to keep the stones from sliding??
In this photo below, you can see the wall going all the way to the right and disappear in the mountains. Well, we walked that whoooooole part to end up in the village you see in the right corner!
Were we tired? Yes, we were tired :p My legs couldn’t stop shaking near the end haha.
But wow it was an experience I’ll never forget! The scale of it all, the beautiful nature around the Wall, the old ruined and the newer restored parts, you go up and down and up and down across the mountaintops. Anytime you look around, you can see the next guardhouse, and the next one, and the next one.
Kudos to our guide who showed us this beautiful part of the Wall, had an amazing knowledge of its history, and was also an amazing photographer!! ( greatwallhiking.com, really a recommendation if you want to explore the Great Wall!). We received a little ” I hiked the Chinese Wall” diploma from him. How cool is that ;-)
And this one the guide made especially for us :D
I literally have hundreds more beaufitul photos but I guess this’ll have to do ;-) Does give an impression right?