the great wall

naturally, we couldn’t go to beijing without walking on the great wall!

following a tip from dingle, i investigated the possibility of doing the stretch between jinshaling and simatai… 10kms on the wall sounds like a bit too much, but in the end we decided to just go for it instead of the manicured & ever-crowded wall in badaling. if we were going all the way north, might as well make it memorable!

so i searched around for ways to get there (about 3 hours from beijing), and stumbled upon jeff, a really nice couchsurfer in beijing who regularly organizes trips to people who want to go there. if you tell him you want to go there, he might know of other people going there on the same day – the driver’s fee is 450rmb for the car – the more people, the less you pay. meet our driver, mr. pei (13161847160):
mr. pei

mr. pei is a cheerful chap, knows a bit of english and is eager to use it! he dropped us in jinshaling and was waiting for us in simatai as promised – no driving the foreigners to fishy places to shop or eat, whatsoever.
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the chinese say the wall is like a dragon stretching over the mountain tops, and i couldn’t come up with a better comparison if i tried.
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the jinshaling-simatai trek takes about 4 hours. 4 hours of nearly vertical climbs…
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…and descents…
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… of watchtowers lined up…
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…some of which in precarious conditions…
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…with some caution signs…
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…of neatly lined up steps…
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…or caotic and hard to walk ones (or sometimes even on parallel paths to the wall)…
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… 4 hours of feeling on top of the world…
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… and then asking ourselves if we had the guts to actually finish this adventure…
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but we made it, 4 hours, 4 bottles of water and 90rmbs later! (50+40 entrance fees for the different parts of the wall)! yay!

paulo took his gps with him and mapped the walk, and in the end it turns out the total is closer to 6km (from parking lot to parking lot). still, good exercise and magnificent views! if you’re in shape, i highly recommend it. :)


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