The Great Wall of China: China: Travel Thoughts 4

© irene waters 2020

We were taken to a part of the Great Wall approximately 35 kms to the north from Beijing. The Juyongguan Great Wall was the first of three passes that previously had proved impenetrable. Our tour company sold it as the best part of the wall because not many tourists went to it and therefore you didn’t have to wait in queues to climb.

© irene waters 2020

I had then read up on this part of the wall and discovered not many tourists visit because of the difficulty in climbing the stairs and in order to get to the best views you had to clim to at least the 7th station. I can do it I thought. As we travelled in the bus I kept an eye out for the wall and wondered if the above photo was part of it. I still don’t know.

© irene waters 2020

It was quite clear however when we did see it and looking out to the right I thought I can climb that easily. The right however was not accessible to us and we turned into a parking area on the left and saw the steepness of the incline. I still was determined to climb it.

Views of the path upwards. The castle like areas are the stations and I was determined to get to number 7.

© irene waters 2020

We were told that an easier way to the second station was via a bushwalk and as it was easier I decided to take it. Roger had taken one look at the stairs and said he was happy with the view he could get from the entry level. I took off alone and the track was hit and miss. Obviously few people used it and I was uncomfortable so I returned to the conventional stairs upwards.

© irene waters 2020

The rise on the stairs was high the step was narrow making it difficult unless you did a kind of crawl. The hand rails were of little use for me because I had to bend almost double to reach them they were so low to the ground.

People sat unable to move further – I made it to the second station and decided that I couldn’t afford to take a tumble and if up was so difficult I could only imagine that down would be worse with legs turning to jelly and doing the involuntary shake as used to happen when I climbed the giant staircase at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.

© irene waters 2020

I could see how spectacular it would be from higher up where you got a 360 degree view but I was happy with what I could see. It was obvious the strategic military advantage that was afforded situated in a lower area (valley ridge?) surrounded by two huge mountains.

© irene waters

This section was built 770 – 476 BC and again later in 476- 221 BC as fortification. It was linked to the Great Wall of China 386 – 589 AC.

© irene waters 2020

It was further strengthened during the Ming dynasty to protect from Mongol invasion. Looking to the east you can see the gentler slope of the wall.

© irene waters 2020

© irene waters 2020

We could not cross over the river however, you could buy a ticket that let you do both sides and you could do a full loop starting on the east side – a gentler climb and descending on the west. We did not have the time to do that.

© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020

We departed the Great Wall glad that we had seen a structure of such immense proportions it can be seen from outer space, overawed at the structural feat this must have been for such a long time ago but perhaps a little disappointed that I was unable to climb as far as I needed to get that 360 degree view. Still, it was a great adventure.

Next we were off to Beijing Zoo.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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2 Responses to The Great Wall of China: China: Travel Thoughts 4

  1. Wonderful photos of the Wall. It’s unfortunate that the travel company convinced you of a spectacular view only accessible by a climb they knew was nearly impossible except for the most athletic, and probably much younger, tourist. I’m glad you and Roger were satisfied by what you could safely achieve. I’ll never have this adventure, so you’re way ahead of me.

    Liked by 1 person

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