We journeyed to China for a week. While in this huge land, we were fully escorted by personnel from China Pac Tours. During our stay we had the chance to visit the Great Wall of China. This is a must. Especially now it is also a Seventh Wonder of the New World.
When you arrive at the great wall, there are shops and shops and shops with great deals for souvenirs. Haggle when you come back down and if one won’t give it to you at the price you want, another one will (etc. we got ten key chains for eight US Dollars when one shop was trying to sell 1 keychain for four US Dollars)
Anyways, make it pass the shops and cafes then climb the steps to the main tourist entrance. There are just rolling hills of the Great Wall...... as far as the eye can see. Plus there are plenty of locals to take your pictures in front of the Great Wall so don’t worry if you forgot your camera. We traveled in October just after the Chinese New Year Holiday. So even though are tour guide said it was not peak season, the bountiful of crowds showed otherwise.
You will rest against the wall while climbing upward (trust me..lol) While resting you will take in the views and really wonder how many years, how many people and how many stones did it take to create such a thing. There are plenty of photo ops as you journey farther up the mountain. People are along the walls selling hand made crafts, key chains and statues...etc...My husband and I were directed to a tree and told it was the highest point in the area we were in. Also the safest point to climb to and get a fabulous view of everything.
We tightened our Nikes and headed up that way. Forty minutes later and quite a distance from the main entrance, we thought there was only one more hill to climb. We reached the top of the guard tower took a deep breath of accomplishment ...then our shoulders just slumped down, our smiles turned upside down, for we saw the Great Wall divided into three more walls...hahaha … it was quite a disappointment to see the tree there, possibly still thirty more minutes away from us at a steep incline. We looked behind us, and then in front of us, then behind us and to the side of us and noticed a small rollercoaster to take you down the wall for a fee, then once more in front of us. We admired the trickle of people who had almost reached the tree. We laughed at each other, and then congratulated each other; we decided to call it a day.
Out of our tour bus of fifty people over half said they would climb to the tree, but no one completed that climb. But it was just the joy of seeing something so great, the colors so beautiful and the people so many. It was worth every bit of the pain of the burning thighs, calf’s cramping up, toes pressing against the shoes and bulging out because of the rapid decline down the hill, the smell of rust and stone from trying to keep a steady grip to the wall or rail while going back down. There was even one point we sat down on the steps from fear of falling and scooted from step to step. I would not trade my experience for the world!
In closing I wanted to mention what I observed as a common thing while taking tourist stops and bathroom breaks during our week long journey. Most the bathrooms only had squatters (females be aware because I had no idea what that was and when I walked into the stall I thought my bathroom was broke because there was only a hole in the floor and the toilet was missing) there was NEVER any bathroom tissue or hand soap. I am soooo serious. I always take a fanny pack with me fully prepared so this is just a word of advice Thank God for Kleenex, babywipes and Purell!