While staying in Beijing, we made a day trip to visit the Great Wall of China , which snakes through hilly terrain north of Beijing.
There are numerous access points. Somewhat to our frustration our bus passed by at least one scenic and uncrowded section to take us to the Badaling access, which not coincidentally was replete with souvenir shops – and crowds. When we asked our guide why he responded that the restaurant there was better. Perhaps.
Advertising for the Olympics was ubiquitous.
We had two initial impressions of the wall: crowds & smog, which was also ubiquitous throughout China.
A benefit of digital photography is the ability to enhance color and contrast. These are the only things that enabled decent pictures of this area.
When I say it was crowded, I mean it!
Many tour companies in China issue colored hats to identify their clients. Our Elderhostel hats were yellow – you can see a number of them in this picture. There was also another group here with red hats.
I've had a horror of crowds since a stressful visit to the New Orleans Mardi Gras as a child – so I fled toward the steeper section with fewer people.
Whew! This is better.
The portion of the wall here has been extensively restored and is in good condition. Some parts of the wall have disappeared and others are threatened.
I had not expected the steepness or the steps, for some reason. At some point I had read that horses and chariots could travel along the Great Wall – clearly this was a myth.
There is an annual marathon that travels along a portion of the Wall in a different location – one that is even more precipitous.
Wise Jim decided to wait out part of the climb. He took this picture of me as I struggled up. I'm wearing a blue shirt.
Looking back over the sweep of the wall in the opposite direction. The section across the way is jammed with people at least as far as that first peak. Ugh!
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