Sunday, December 15, 2013

Beijing - Part 2

Naturally, one thing we simply had to do was visit the Great Wall! The Wall is about an hour and a half's drive from the city. There are several parts of the Wall that are open to tourists -- meaning that they've been repaired and made less treacherous than they would have been if they'd been left in their 2000-year-old state. This picture shows a stretch of road leading up to the Wall; it's packed with souvenir vendors, all selling pretty much exactly the same things.

As we were visiting a part of the Wall that doesn't start from the ground up, there was the option of taking a cable car (the Wall is actually made up of different sections that had been built by different dynasties over a long period of time). Of course, the kids were super psyched about that, despite the fact that their mother has always been dead set against the teeny cable car rides that go over water back home (hey, what can I say -- a bunch of them actually fell right off into the sea back in the 80s, killing seven and stranding several others, the very evening my parents were driving us there).

But they have good environmental policies.

And service quality targets. Helping joyously is always a good thing.

I have to admit the ride was pretty fun. The ascent had all the anticipatory thrill of a roller-coaster. This was one view from the car.

A Great Wall resident.

Start of the climb.

Another view of the Wall. It really was longer and more majestic than I'd ever imagined.

Taking a breather. Despite the cold up there, our exertions quickly made us work up a sweat.

Now I finally know what those watchtowers that dot the Wall look like inside. 

They're quite maze-like, in fact, and it was fascinating to imagine all the activity that took place in them so many centuries ago.

The Wall stretches over 5,000 miles. One plus of visiting in the middle of winter, was that it was uncrowded and peaceful.

Ro very enthusiastically braved the long walk and steep climbs.

We'd been hoping for snow, but considering how steep many of the areas were, I think after all we were glad we didn't have to contend with ice.

A view from the Wall. 

It got tiring for the kids after awhile.

But they persevered.

The amazing length of the Wall. It's wonderful how it hugs and follows the high, rough terrain. What a feat of engineering, and just imagine all the effort and manpower involved in its construction. It is said that it cost the lives of over a million people.

These ladies from Yunnan province were part of a group that was so taken with the kids they insisted on taking several photos together.

We saw this beautiful blue-winged bird frequently. I believe it is a black-billed magpie, and has a lovely iridescence on its plumage. Being as nature-starved as we are, we took quite a number of pictures of them, leaving many locals wondering at our inordinate excitement.

OK, that's all for now -- the third part in a bit! Blessed weekend everyone!


My Garden Diaries said...

I would feel the same way about the cable cars!! What an amazing experience for your kids! And your shots are completely breath taking! The enormity of the wall really comes through in your post! Oh how I would love to take the beans one day!!! A very wonderful week to you!!!

Vett Vandiver said...

COOL city and photos!!

The Dainty Dolls House said...

So oldest really wants to go and see this!! She is very much fascinated by it!! Maybe one day :))) Am glad you had a wonderful time, these are amazing pictures xx

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Oh wow those pictures of the Great Wall are absolutely amazing!!! I can't wait to see that someday :)

Jane Chérie said...

Thank you for sharing these amazing pictures!!! I must say you are very brave to walk all this distance (with all the climbing involved too!) The view is breath-taking!

Unknown said...

What a magnificent view to the Great wall, and that cable ride scary fun!

Rowena @ rolala loves said...

I bet Becky and Ro have such great memories from their adventure in Beijing! The views of and from the Great Wall do look stunning but I'm sure I would've approached that cable car ride with the same trepidation as you did.

Rowena @ rolala loves

Kay G. said...

Oh! What a wonderful time you all must have had! What great photos!
I love the photo of the sign you made showing the rules of the cable car!
Oh, and how wonderful to see the girls walking along the Great Wall of China, WOW!
Also, love the photos of the previous post, especially the one of the two girls together and the one of you with the girls in the square, I know what it is called, but I can't spell it! LOL!!

AntiquityTravelers said...

What an amazing trip you had with the girls! I've always wanted to see the great wall - someday

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

OHMYGOD! Spectacular. What an amazing experience. This is one of those trips that most people dream about taking. I love your photos. And I love that wall resident :)

Magic Love Crow said...

Truly breath taking!! What an experience!!! Wow!!! Love the bird and cat picture ;o) Big Hugs ;o)

Miss Val's Creations said...

These photos are breathtaking! It is amazing how the wall looks like it goes on forever and ever!

I would love to see signs like those on the cable cars in many places. It is such a great reminder for people to be respectful of their environment as well as others around them.

That bird is a beauty! It is so wonderful how there are so many different species across the globe.

Introverted Art said...

wow that's a trip I would like to take. Thank you for sharing and share any tips you think we might need ;-)

Unknown said...

Nice photographs. You look like you are having a wonderful trip.

Jo said...

Your gals are natural models! They can pose so well. It's great to visit The Great Wall when we are still young and mobile. My MIL visited the Great Wall and had a hard time climbing. I hope to be able to go to China soon!


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