Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Great Wall of China...

We have the perfect excuse for the lack of blog entries lately... we've been in China - Beijing to be exact!

I don't think either of us expected to love Beijing as much as we did... it far exceeded all expectations and left us wanting to explore more! We decided to spend all 10 days in the one spot rather than braving the overnight trains to places far and wide - a decision we didn't regret for a second given the sheer enormity of what Beijing has to offer.

We took over 1000 photos, went to some incredible places, met some amazing people, came home with some bargains and have many stories to share!

Like always we'll break our trip down into several different blog entries - the first one being the Great Wall of China! Click on any of the photos to make them larger!!

Rather than opt for one of the many touristy sports along the Wall we decided instead to don or walking shoes and do a 12 km trek from Jinshanling to Simatai. When put in perspective 12kms of the 9,000km total is barely even a drop in the bucket but boy did we have to work hard for every one of the steps it took us (did I mention we only had 4 hours to do it in???).

Along the way we passed through 30 different watch towers

It's incredible to think they built the Wall along the ridge line

Nevertheless it was by far the most amazing experience either one of us has ever had! To say it was incredible doesn't even begin to describe how truly mind blowing it was! The walk itself was far more challenging than I was expecting... think steps built for giants, 70 degree uphill climbs and unstable footing. Not to mention the 30 degree plus temperature with no wind and no shade!

The unrelenting climb!

But what goes up must come down... then up... then down... then up...

However, despite the thumping heart rate, shaking legs and suffocating heat i'm pretty sure we both walked the entire way with smiles plastered on our faces!

Us with our tag-along guides who walk the entire way with you in the hope you'll buy something off them at the end (we bought a book about the Wall)

We were lucky enough to meet an awesome couple from Australia on the 3 hour van ride to the wall who we ended up spending several days with... it was neat to share the experience with other people who were just as excited about actually being on the Great Wall as we were!

Practicing our Kung Fu panda pose with Nathan and Sofia