You can generally make use of any stone, really – you could use it to fight off dogs who attack you or it could, of course, trip you and make you twist your ankle. In any case, whether it ends up well or badly for you, your story will be etched into that stone for centuries. So what do we get when we put together countless stones and innumerous human stories together? We get one of the Great Wonders of the world – the Great Wall of China.
Thousands of stones, keeping safe the stories of many dynasties and their subordinates even until today, as they make a magnificent path as long as the eyes can see. Supposedly it can even be seen from space, but that hasn’t been confirmed. We did, however, walk on it, and we could almost feel how much energy was spent and how much history was made in creating this wonder. The wall has watchtowers, steep stairs and plenty of long, smooth intervals for walking. Note how much a place can change in a mere three weeks…
If you are in Beijing, Great Wall’ most famous sections are Badaling and Mu Tian Yu. Badaling is closer, more modern and unfortunately overpopulated by tourists, while to get to Mu Tian Yu you’d need to drive for two hours, then take a lift, and walk along a rather authentic part of the wall. Admittedly, that part is a bit steep and there are quite a few stairs to climb, but this shouldn’t be too much of a bother.
There’s a reward for the sturdier tourists who make it to the end of the tourist zone on the wall – namely, they’re allowed to ignore a small sign that forbids them from going any further and instead explore the unrepaired part of the structure. In some places it seems to be falling apart and at its tallest point it offers uniquely beautiful views.
The steep stairs were a challenge even on the way down…
Our descent was fun nonetheless. As we headed to our food venue for lunch, we decided not to use the lift, but rather take a specially built tobogan slide. Thankfully no one shot out of it, but it did get our hearts pumping.
Proud of our recent achievement, we didn’t give in to rest and decided instead to walk about a lively spot in a hutong – a narrow street filled with small shops and bars, an attraction for many a tourist and local alike. The street brimmed with activity.
After that we watched an actual kung fu demonstration, which involved not only breathtaking, mesmerising moves, but also quite a bit of plot, theatrical performance and an impressive stage. Here are some shots (technically “illegal”, since we weren’t allowed to document this).
For dinner we had the so called hot pot – a pot of two separate parts, in which you can boil ingredients of your choosing. We loved the idea, though we disagreed on the taste.
This article was brought to you in English by Nick Kotsev.