An exciting day ahead, one of the highlights on my list, and the only thing my son, Tom asked when I was going to get there. With lots of snow everywhere and knowing the great wall is built through mountains, I am taking no risk on getting cold today. I have put all my thermals on so I can stay at the wall to my hearts content. The drive was about two hours, pretty uninteresting when you can’t see more than a few hundred metres, and once we arrive, the site at Jinshangling is virtually abandoned. Most unusual apparently, to be able to see and walk on the Great Wall without hordes of other tourists. We had to walk about one kilometre up the road to the entry point to the wall. The first glimpse is quite a thing when you think of the history and knowing it is the only manmade object in the world visible from space.
We began by trekking around two kilometres uphill along the wall, much of which has been restored, and within about 500 metres, it soon begins to deteriorate as the restoration efforts run out. When you think this wall was build around 600 years ago and is 5,000 kilometres long, it is in surprisingly good order. In total we spent about 2.5 hours on the wall and met a total of 5 other tourists there, the peace and tranquillity was amazing and it was certainly one of the highlights of the trip.
We made our way back to Beijing through heavy traffic and eventually came to the outside of the Forbidden City again. It seemed quicker to walk, so I told the guide I was jumping out and walking back to Tiananmen Square and would make my own way to the hotel. He seemed shocked! You can’t do that, you might get lost and I am responsible… well, I said I was, I have managed to find my away around the world over 25 years and will certainly be fine. Anyway, Justin jumped out with me, walked with me to Tiananmen Square, then left me on my own to explore while he got the Metro home. Strangely enough, I enjoyed my wander through all the great square and surrounding areas again and even managed to find the hotel without even looking at the map.
Tucan Travel operate group tours to China. Click here for more information.