I started the Hiking Season with style, climbing the Great Wall. The Chinese greatest engineering triumph is also THE must-see in China. The construction of the Wall started with Qin Dynasty (221-207BC) and the works went on with the following dynasties. The picture of the brick-clad wall that we all have in mind is from Ming times (from XIVth century).
For this hike I chose one of the sections around Beijing, Jinshanling, 142 km northwest of Beijing. This 7km hike (3 hours) is considered by the guidebook one of the less touristy sections of the Wall and offers a nice combination of original and restored sections through remote mountainous terrain. When I got off the bus I was lucky to find two Hungarian girls to share the taxi, who later became also a very nice company. The day was cloudy, which was good for hiking and less good for pictures, and the first towers appeared to us from the mist with a “Ming atmosphere”, lol. Mao said once that “He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man”. I don’t know if he was right, I would say that he who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true traveler because watching some pictures of the Great Wall is not enough, this is something that you need to see with your own eyes and look to your right, to your left, look forward, behind . . Watching a portion of the wall is nice but the view of the ensemble is sublime.
The hike was very cheerful and we stopped every 10 minutes to take pictures. The wall is not homogeneous, its design was adapted to the geography of the mountains and valleys that needed to protect, offering hikers countless perspectives. Sometimes the wall is almost flat, sometimes it’s like climbing a three floor building and sometimes it doesn’t exist at all because a precipitous mountain, for example, does the job.
We all were very happy because the Great Wall exceeded our expectations and it was another dream come true.
Back to Beijing, tired but happy, we went to celebrate it with a beer 🙂
My Tips :
To go to the Jinshanling section, one must take bus n. 980 from Dongzhimen Transportation Hub and stop at Miyun (1hr, 15 Yuan). Then a taxi is needed to go to Jinshanling (price to be negotiated). Usually taxi drivers are waiting for tourists at the bus stop. The ride takes 1hr or 30min if he takes the highway (he asked us which way we wanted to take). The highway toll costs 5 extra Yuan