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Morning Reader! ๐Ÿ˜

It’s Thursday and whilst we’re here in China, we just had to visit The Great Wall! (or at least, part of it!)

We met our guide, Michael, and our driver, Dong, in the Lobby for 8.30am and headed north from the Hotel. It would have been a two-hour drive to this iconic landmark (even though the traffic was lighter than yesterday!) but Dong has already proved he is no ordinary human! He’s been trained by the local Zen Hur School of Motoring, and so happily, we were looking for a parking-spot at our destination after just 80 minutes! ๐Ÿ˜‰

In today’s episode… (with apologies to Pink Floyd!)

  • We don’t need no education…
  • We don’t need no thought control…
  • No dark sarcasm in the classroom…
  • Features, leave those vids alone…

“We don’t need no education”…

As every school-boy and school-girl knows, this is a massive structure fortifying the northern borders of China. Started in the 7th century, it was the Ming dynasty that built most of the parts we see today.Some parts have been renovated, whilst other parts lie in disrepair. A recent survey concluded that added together, the length of the wall totals around 13000 miles – but as large as it is, it’s a common myth that it can been from space. A 2012 report suggested that up to 20% has gone forever through neglect and erosion!

After parking, it was a brief lift journey to ground-level to the entrance area where we took the short walk to the (free) Shuttle Bus. The Bus is optional as visitors can walk to the Wall (a bit strenuous for us two!) ๐Ÿ˜Š

…finishing with another brief stroll to the Cable Car…

Anywhere with a cat gets our vote! – Is this Chairman Miaow?

“We don’t need no thought control”…

Given its size, you don’t need to think very hard about the challenges faced when constructing this iconic landmark. Bricks, wood, stone, tiles, lime (and even sticky rice) are thought to be the ingredients (including ‘rammed earth’ that was used in earlier constructions). But even somewhere as historically significant as this doesn’t escape graffiti! ๐Ÿ˜ง

The weather conditions from a photography point-of-view weren’t ideal as there was a heavy mist in the area. We hoped it was going to burn off, but it didn’t! Maybe though, it gave the Great Wall an even more mysterious feel!?

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Slide-show (swipe to view)

“No dark sarcasm in the classroom”…

On our journey to the Wall (some 100kms.) on roads ranging from motorway-width to village ‘high streets’, we didn’t see (or feel) a single pothole. Whoever is in charge of road maintenance out here, can we take you home to Northamptonshire please? ๐Ÿ˜

I wasn’t sure what to expect when we arrived, but I was immediately overwhelmed with how commercial it all was. Not only a Burger-King and plenty of restaurants and local stalls, but wifi too (the only public outdoor area so far that has offered it!) – how very Capitalist! ๐Ÿ˜‰

“Features, leave those vids alone”…

Nothing beats the real thing. All the photos, films, photos and videos you may have seen can’t prepare you for the spectacle that unfolded in front of us today! Quite how they managed to build such a massive construction, given the hostile environment and the lack of tools (apart from masses of human labour) is beyond me!

All in all…

More than just ‘bricks in a wall’ this had been a very memorable experience – a monumental feat of construction! OK, the weather could have been better for our photos, but it hadn’t dampened our enthusiasm for what we saw.

Today’s Top Tourist Tip: The surfaces are VERY uneven. There are (many) steps and slopes in both directions, so wear the appropriate footwear. Oh, and unless you are wearing marigold gloves, don’t use a mobile phone if it’s raining! Yes, really! The clue is the recent installations of lightning conductors at various points!

At the end of our visit over coffee, Michael gave us a short history lesson of ‘the family Khan’ (Genghis and Kubla) and their impact on the area! (clue: significant!) Then it was off to a local hotel for a Chinese Lunch (included the price of our Tour).

Lunch!

Another great day! Tomorrow, it’s our last full day in Beijing. We’re going to visit The Summer Palace and The Olympic Park (The Birds Nest). ๐Ÿ˜

More photos (and none of my chat!) HERE

Any comments?