The Great Wall

It’s 4,000 miles long, but no, you can’t see it from space. But you can see the moon from here, if the conditions are right! Conditions were…well, rather misty on our visit. But it was the last site we visited in China, so the weather had to be endured, and actually, the mistiness probably adds to the atmosphere.

I think every one of us on the tour was visibly moved by actually being here. The wall is well over 2,000 years old, and is yet another reminder of China’s turbulent past: an astounding feat of engineering to construct this massive wall on top of a mountain, to keep out invaders.  Nowadays it is possibly the main tourist attraction – I know when we were looking at different itineraries we felt we really couldn’t go all the way to China and NOT see the wall.

The dancing bit came about cos I’d asked another tour member to video me walking on the wall, but a few of our happy band had gathered at that point, and were shouting out to me to dance down. So I never like to disappoint an audience!

It’s tough work walking on the wall – there are some very steep sections, and the steps are uneven, so you have to be very careful where you tread.

The hard sell from the gauntlet of souvenir shop owners, lined up one behind the other on a narrow path as you exited the cable car, was the most intense I’d come across in China. They waved their Tshirts and chopsticks and called out “One dolla, one dolla”. Of course nothing cost one dollar, this was just to make you stop and look, although that didn’t prevent one particularly pedantic Englishman in front of me trying to explain the intricacies of the foreign exchange market to a wizened old woman intent on making a sale…

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