The Great Wall of China is one of the Architectural Wonders of the Middle Ages and getting to see and stand on it has been one of the highlights of my travel adventures up to date. The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese against intrusions.
The Great Wall, one of the greatest wonders of the world, was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987. Just like a gigantic dragon, the Great Wall winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching approximately 8,851.8 kilometers from east to west of China. Our China Odyssey group got to visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China located about 70 km northeast of central Beijing.
We actually had a choice of either taking a cable car to the wall or climb the 4000+ steps from the base to the wall entrance. Everybody in our group was quite eager to take the cable car up and skip to steep 4000+ step climb up. This section of the Great Wall is surrounded by woodland and streams and we traveled up the forest covered mountainside to the watchtower.
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, and surprising ly enough it wasn’t as crowded as expected. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs.
Mom and I had a fabulous time up on the Great Wall! We walked around but stopped nearly every 5 steps to take photos of the wall and the stunning scenery surrounding it. Stepping out across the peaceful semi-ruin of a section of the Great Wall is like walking in the footsteps of the past. Far from the madding tourist crowds we are able to get a great sense of the scale and the majesty of this remarkable piece of engineering without rushing through in a big group. We were quite lucky to get some shots of the Great Wall without people in it!!
It was amazing to be up there and so special to be able to share this amazing moment with my mom.
Built mainly with granite, the wall is 7–8.5 meters high and the top is 4–5 meters wide. Compared with other sections of Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall possesses some unique characteristics in its construction.
To get to the bottom of the hillside again we had a couple of option. We could either walk the 4000+ steps down or choose between a two-rider chairlift or four-rider to descend. Another feature of the wall at Mutianyu is an alternate method of descent by single-rider personal wheeled toboggan. This allows single riders to descend from the wall to the valley on a winding metal track.
My mom and I took the cable car down and at the bottom of the foothill we stopped to buy some wall postcards. We looked through some of the other wall souvenirs and then walked down the cobbled road to the parking lot where we were meeting the rest of out group. As we reached the bottom my mom realized that her camera was missing. I think my mom nearly had a heart attack and went white from shock. We ran back up the cobbled steps and luckily the postcard lady had kept the camera that my mom had left there. This was another reminder that I had to constantly check that my mom had all her stuff with her as she kept loosing things.