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Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Great Wall, Mutianu, Beijing

This was the ‘big one’ for me, when I realized that this China trip was really going to happen the two places I really wanted to see were the Terracotta Warriors and the Great Wall. Not surprising choices maybe, as I would imagine that both these destinations would be high on the list of any visitor to China.
On the way up in the cable car

Climbing on to the Wall
As said in previous blogs we only had organised trips to the Terracotta Warriors, so we needed to find a way to get to the Wall. We had heard from other travellers that if you use a guide to get to the wall, you got an hour to get onto the wall, have a look round and get back down again. An hour to see one of the most amazing sights in the world??? I don’t think so! We looked into travelling out to the Wall on the buses, but we weren’t too keen, although it would have been the cheapest option. Fortunately my sister in law got chatting to a taxi driver outside our hotel, who did visits to the Wall. We managed to talk to him again, ask him how much it would cost (half the price of an organized tour!) and more importantly how long we would have when we got there! He said we could spend as long as we wanted to on the Wall, that was the right answer for us, and the right price, so we booked the trip for the Saturday before we came home.
It was a lovely sunny day, but, being a Saturday the whole of China is out and about…it took us about 2 hours to get to Mutianyu, the traffic was horrendous, but seeing the Chinese countryside was really lovely.
Looking down into the valley, our taxi driver is down there somewhere!!
I sent my texts from here Smile
Looking out from a watch tower.
Inside the watch tower.
I ought to say my sister in law was very brave, she really does not like heights, but both she and my daughter had been to Badaling, which is the tourists usual destination, Mutianyu straddles the top of the mountains and can only be reached by either a cable car or a ski lift, so you can imagine just how brave she was!
The Wall marching along the top of the mountain.
Our taxi driver was brilliant, he showed us the way up to the cable car, places to eat etc. then he gave my daughter his mobile phone no. as she has a Chinese phone and left us to it. We had chosen to go up in the cable car – the ski lift option also included coming down on a slide!! My daughter is still desperate to try that option! To see the Wall snaking up and down the top of the mountains was just wonderful, but you do wonder why they went across the top of the mountains……
We got out of the cable car, and after a bit more climbing we were finally there, for me it was a dream come true, as I never in a million years thought I would ever get to walk on the Great Wall of China! We walked from one guard tower to the next one, where I texted my friends from. We also found a surprise when we got there, a donkey tethered under a tree at the bottom of the wall! There was a small drinks stall at this point, tended to by an old man, so the dear little donkey must carry the drinks up the wall on a daily basis.
The drinks stall holder….
….and his donkey!
We could have carried on but the next stage was an almost vertical climb downwards, which is ok until you realize that you have to climb back up a long way too, so we retraced our steps. My sister in law and my daughter decided they had seen enough, so left the wall. I carried on a short way onto a part of the wall we had not seen, I couldn’t let a photo opportunity go now could I?
There are people climbing up that section of the Wall, rather them than me I think!
We left the Wall, went back down in the cable car, visited the stalls selling all sorts of wonderful things. With the aid of my daughters bargaining we bought silk dressing gowns and presents to bring home, then we had something to eat, and called out taxi driver, he was there to pick us up in 2 minutes, literally! Visiting the Wall this way is definitely the way to go, as I said our taxi driver was just brilliant!
Flowers growing by the Wall
We had a relaxed drive back into the centre of Beijing, arriving back at about 5pm, but the day wasn’t over just yet! My daughter and her flat mate took us to  Tibetan Restaurant in the evening, we ate Yak meat which was delicious, and drank sweet Yak milk tea, which I loved. There was a band singing Tibetan songs, and every 10 minutes or so, the staff stopped what they were doing and danced round the tables. It was a lovely evening, and a great end to a wonderful day.


  1. oh, poppy, these photos are amazing! you did a fine job trying to portray this amazing wonder of the world! it's just awe-inspiring, breath-taking, and humbling and SO beautiful too. what an amazing journey you took.

  2. Hi Poppy, you did an amazing job with your photos, they are just spectacular. I also envy you, you had such a wonderful trip to China.

  3. Hi Poppy these photo's are amazing I can see that you must have been in awe , these sights are wonderful. To walk that wall oh wow, and as the stone said it was to ward off the enemy attacks, now it brings so many people together. Thank you very much for sharing your experience Hugs Sheila :) xx

  4. What superb pictures. I wonder if the wall is in such good condiion for it's whole length.
    Apart from an enjoyable meal, I'll bet it was good to get back and sat down at the restaurant in the evening - my feet are having a wee twinge just thinking about the afternoons walk (I'd still most certainly jump at the chance to see the wall if it came my way)

  5. Poppy, thanks for sharing your trip with us, I never knew much about China until you have been opening our eyes with your journey's!

  6. Thank you all for your lovely comments, it really was a wonderful experience, looking at the photos the other day I asked myself if I had really been there!!! Yes I had, and I am so pleased I had that wonderful opportunity!
    Sandi, to answer your question, no, the wall is not like this all the way along, there are only sections that have been repaired. You can only imagine what an amazing sight it must have been when it was complete!