An absolute must see when you’re in Beijing is the Great Wall of China. I have no words to describe this wonder as it is truly breathtaking how they managed to build this wall thousands of years ago.
The wall was built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups. Several walls have been built since the 5th century BC and it has been rebuilt and maintained from then through the 16th century. The first emperor Qin Shi Huang wanted a better barricade to protect his people from the Mongol invaders as the wall was not solid enough. About 3000 people worked on the wall during the Qin Dynasty and people were dying ever second of exhaustion and disease. There is an old Chinese saying: Each stone in the wall represents a life lost in the wall’s construction. The wall is over 5954.57 kilometres long and it took several hundred years to complete it.
Johanne and I decided that we wanted to try to get to the wall on our own from Beijing. At our hostel they did have guided tours where you could combine the visit to the wall with other attractions, but we were brave and asked the hotel staff how to get there. We then took bus number 919 early in the morning and we were then on our way to Badaling, which is about 70 kilometres outside of Beijing. It took about one and a half hour to get there and the sight that met us was overwhelming. It was a dream comes true.
We arrived just before 9 in the morning and there were already a lot of people there. Of course some Chinese people thought Johanne and I were more interesting then the Great Wall but we tried our best to ignore them. We walked on the wall for over two hours and the time went by so quickly. The surroundings were so beautiful and I still can’t believe that I have actually been walking on one of the wonders of this world.
There were a couple of cafes and shops and also a museum where you could read about the history of the wall. The museum was interesting but it could not compare to walking on the wall. I read a lot about the wall before we left London but the feeling I got when we were there is something you can not read in a book. If I ever go back to Beijing I would love to go back to the wall again, perhaps another part of the wall further away from Beijing. I truly recommend visiting Beijing and the Great Wall of China. It is a vacation like no other and this really was the perfect start to our perfect around the world trip.