Travel Journal

The Great Wall of China

(Wednesday 26 September 2007) by Lynda
Mao Zedong wrote:He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man

Not sure what this means for a woman...... but I decided that the best way to see the Great Wall of China is to go hiking on it. I did a hike between Jinshanleng and Simaltai , a hike of 10 km. The hike is quite hard (luckily not as many steps as the Tai'Shan, but still.....) because the wall snakes from mountaintop to mountaintop and this part of the wall is only partly restored so sometimes there are no steps just loose bricks and ground.
Simply amazing!
Simply amazing!

The wall is one of the highlights of my visit to China, such an impressive structure. The construction started during the Qin dynasty (221 B.C.) An estimated 180 million cubic metres of rammed earth was used to form the core of the original wall, and legend has it that one of the building materials used was the bones of deceased workers. During the Ming dynasty an effort was made to rehash the bastion to keep the Mongols out; this time facing it with bricks and stone slabs - some 60 million cubic metres of these. The project took over 100 years and the costs in human effort and resources were phenomenal. The wall never really did perform its function as an impenetrable line of defence. As Genghis Khan himself said: "The strenght of a wall depends on the courage of those who defend it".
The flying fox!
The flying fox!

The myth that the Great Wall is visible with the naked eye from the moon was finally laid to rest in 2003, when China's first astronaut Yang Liwei observed that he could not see the barrier from space. The myth is still to be edited from Chinese textbooks!

After the hike I had the options: walk back from the wall to the parking lot or take the flying fox down and I simply couldn't resist it...... flying down in this overwhelming setting.... not enough words to describe it!

Dear friends, thank you all for your nice and sweet reply's on this weblog and to make sure you will not start worrying about me; I will be "off air" for full week starting tomorrow because of my visit to North Korea. As soon as I get back I will fully update you on this probably unique experience!



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