The Great Wall is breathtaking, I mean it is one of the “the New Seven Wonders of the World” and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China. Anyway, the renovated, tourist-accessible parts of the Great Wall, and the part I visited, are simply not comparable.
I had organized a tour for about 15 friends, starting in a tiny village at the foot of a mountain. We were determined to find the ruins of the wall, not really sure where to start looking. When walking up the mountain, we soon needed our hands to continue, and at some point we had to go back to take another way up as there is no kind of indication of where to go and it was getting quite impossible to go any further. Not that the other way we picked was any easier! Anyway, we kept going, on low speed and helping each other whenever we could. There was only one way to get up, and that was by getting your hands dirty. At a certain point we could not continue as there was a 4 meter overhanging rock blocking our way, right at the peak. Turning back would be too dangerous too, as it was steep and slippery. Eventually we decided to keep going and guide each other through the last climb, quite a team-building experience as I remember… Once at the top I figured everyone felt quite a bit like a pro, but the only thing was that we could still not see any kind of a wall! We decided to continue down, and up again, until we ran into a real ‘pro’, who told us there was an easier way down towards the village. We decided that part of our group should go that way as it was getting dark, and we needed to hurry up if we wanted to find the Great Wall.
Fast and focused we climbed the tough climb up the mountain. Out of water and one hour later, we could see the ruins of the Great Wall, and during the last half hour climb we were right at it’s feet, which made us climb with even more emotion. Arriving at the ruins felt like quite a victory. The view was absolutely breathtaking as by that time the sun was setting, and everything was covered with tiny white flowers. We decided to walk down 5 towers to experience the real and untouched Great Wall, after which we turned back and walked down all the way back to the village, read: slide, jump and climb.