Let’s start with some dumplings for Svet, expresso + sort out the VPN that constantly drop for Laurent and meet up in front of that … eeerk… restaurant 🙂
We kept the best for the end of our trip: the Great Wall!
The most common ways to visit the wall are to start from Badaling (most popular) or Mutianyu. Those places are of easy reach from Beijing and lead to the refurbished parts of the wall… but we want more 🙂 The plan is to go to the non-touristic part, which connects to the touristic one after a few miles.
We found a detailed itinerary on Internet, let’s try it out. We start with a one hour bus ride to Huairou, followed by another bus to Jiankou where our hike will start. The number of times we were harassed by cab drivers – including in the bus – to drive us to the wall is unbelievable!
Some massive infrastructure under construction on the way
Another group of 4 Germans with a guide are also in the bus, as well as some local guys, up for the same challenge.
We have no guide, an untested itinerary and it is misty and rainy. Common sense would tell us to stop now but we continue 🙂
The first part is a one hour hike to the first tower of the Great Wall.
We proactively ignore the signs 🙂
Not those ones though
Getting a bit muddy and wet
It goes up the mountain through the forest. Amazing vegetation; quite steep though.
Many breaks after, we eventually reach the tower. What a relief !!! We are on the right way 🙂
The right side of the wall leads to the “stairs to heaven”, which is more climbing than hiking. Not for us.
We go to the left side, towards Mutianyu, the touristic part. Some guys were planting their tent in the tower, ready to spend the night. One local guy was also going to Mutianyu, so we decided to go together.
There are 23 towers on the way, we reach them one by one. Some well kept, some quite ruined. Pure magic, the mist makes it all surrealist and magnificent…
Some parts of the wall itself are not in a good state. Careful not to fall as the wall is quite high so falling would surely be fatal
If you don’t fall, it is fine, the hike is not too difficult.
The “ox horn edge” is the most difficult part. It is a steep slope upwards, followed by a steep and slippery slope downwards. We have to hold the wall tightly not to “enjoy” a toboggan-style descent 🙂
The whole hike on the Great Wall is just magical. We are surrounded by outstanding beauty and centuries of history; I never experienced that before. We are in heaven.
We eventually reached the touristic part after 4 miles or so and say goodbye to our friend. Awesome chap, despite the language barrier 🙂
We continue for about 4 miles, meeting a few tourists.
We could have done without the mist and the rain on that part, the landscape looks amazing as we can… mmmh…. guess 🙂
We use the cable car to go down to the valley. Touristic infrastructures are great when you are tired 🙂
We are exhausted but absolutely ecstatic after this amazing hike; 4 hours of pure delight! That finishes our Transmongolian trip in the best way possible 🙂
We will have a quick rest before a well deserved dinner (not Mc Donald’s for sure 🙂 ) and … packing 😦 Our flight to London is tomorrow morning…