Katherine's Trip 2005/06 travel blog

Day four of the itinerary stated "An invirogating walk across one of the remotest parts of the Great Wall of China. Fitness level required is moderate, be prepared to raise your heartbeat..."

Secretly I was dreading this, not least because 'outdoorsy' has never found its way onto the hobbies and interests part of my CV, but also because the humidity level was nearly 100% making breathing difficult let alone moving. However, when we woke up on Thursday the rain from the night before has washed away the sauna effect leaving fresh clear skies, the conditions could not have been more perfect. We left for the three hour drive out of Beijing on time, but could not predict the seven hour traffic jam that we encountered on the remotes outskirts. In China, traffic jams are dealt with in an unorthodox way to put it lightly. Basically what happens is, one car breaks down, and as a result all the following cars park behind it four wide so that both sides of the road are thus blocked. The drivers then abandon the perfectly working cars and meet for a chat approximately 1/2 a mile away. Any further approaching cars, also follow suit (fromm both directions) until the 'caar park' effect is achieved. Approximately 3 hours later , the police tend to arrive and after having parked their cars, then join the drivers and play the game of guessing whose car is whose (A bit like Guess Who - "Does your car have three wheels or four?"...or "Are you the car with no roof?"). It looks like rather a lot of fun, and it wasn't as if we were on our way to see the 'eighth wonder of the world' or anything so as you can imagine we were more than happy to wait....

As a result we arrived at our destination at 4pm rather than 1pm, which meant that we were really pushing for time due to the fading light. However, luckily for us, our Chinese guide had a deathwish, so we set off undeterrred up the hill. It took us about 30 mins to get to the top but once we did, we were quite suddenly confronted with the beautiful sight of the Great Wall of China stretching out before us for miles and miles and miles. To make things even better, we were the only people there, and for the whole 4 hour trek we only saw two other people - goat herders, complete with their, er, goats...Our guide told us that at the most popular part of the Wall, they get 30-40 thousand people per day, whilst on the part we were you would be lucky to see 60-70 people per week...it was so remote that it was totally beautiful, a sight I will truly remember until my dying day (gosh I've come over a bit momentous..) It's no wonder really that there were hardly any people there seeing as the Wall we walked along had not yet been Polyfilla'd as was therefore falling down...(to such a degree that I had to refer to my insurance policy and ensure I was covered)

To make things even better due to the late start, we were blessed with the unforgettable sight of the sun going down over the Wall on one side, whilst on the other side, we could see the moon rising...Very gay I know, but I actually had a tear in my eye it was so magical (Harry Potter style)

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