The Great Great Wall of China
Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
124Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
I, Vinny, have the reins for this one. Mike was continuing his sterling work with the other encounters whilst I, armed with Bruce Campbell, set about scaling the secret great wall of China.
We are staying in a lovely hostel on the Da Zha Lan Jie pedestrian street called Leo Hostel (Polly we had unfortunately paid up for 5 nights here before we got your guest book message so haven't seen your Red Lantern). The hostel is very pleasant with two different premises. We are staying in a 15 bed dorm for 45 RMB a night, about 3 pounds, its clean and quite sizeable. But the best thing about the hostel is the army of friendly staff and some of the tours that they organize. One such tour is the trip to the 'secret' wall.
The Chinese have been restoring certain parts of the wall for some time and there is no denying it looks great. We had the privilege of passing through Badaling (The main tourist spot) from the train into Beijing and I got so excited I got my hair caught in the moving fan whilst craning my neck. On the other hand it also becomes so crowded full of people during the day it gives of a very passable impression of an ants nest.
So I set out on our days trip organized through Leo Hostel for Leo Hostel guests to the secret wall with significant red eye at 7:30. The contents of the mini bus consisted of me, young Annika, two dutch, a mad Dane with his mongolian girl friend and three germans fella's two of whom where brothers and would have fitted into the 'lord of the rings' movies very nicely, maybe as Sam and Master Frodo's love interests, seeing as there had both the comic styling and stature of Jimmy Crankie. Bruce Cambell, being typical heroic, was leading the way from the front seat of the other mini bus.
After two and a half hours of typically bum clenching white knuckled driving lunacy we arrived at our destination and looked up to see a spec in the far distance on top of a thickly vegetated mountain and a thin path leading away in front of us. However this was expected as it was a tour of the more adventurous and involved a 40 minute hike straight up through the wildlife. So more amusing to me was when the third minibus pulled up and a large three generation family of Russians starting a age 9 up to 70 got out wearing flip flop, summer dresses and, unfortunately for us, in the case of a fat surly 16 year old son a figure hugging black stringed vest!
Anyway to cut a long story short it was wonderful. The hiking, the peaked ruins of the wall, the views, the company, the meal we got in a tiny chinese village when we got back down and more. There was no one else up there bar us and one lone sales man who surprised us all as we entered one particular crumbling watch tower with 'wataa' tee shirr' beeeer' and clearly lives up there for the one group a day who passes through!
All the photo's are accompanying this entry so you can see what I saw. It wasn't the clearest day which really was a blessing due to it already being hot enough to cook stuff in my shorts.
If you were wondering three of the russians didn't even attempt it but, bless her, the 70 year old did and thoroughly deserved a round of applause when she arrived back wheezing and sweating buckets 30 minutes after everyone else. Hats off to her.
We arrived back into Leo Hostel and 5 smiling.