What do you do when you’re new to the area for the holidays?  You make the most of your time and do something special!  For Thanksgiving, my husband and I decided to check out the Great Wall.

Getting there

We hired a driver who picked us up at 8 in the morning and took us on the 1 1/2 drive to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall.  The driver was great as he went with us when we purchased the tickets.  While I wanted to take the toboggan ride down, the driver (and my husband) thought it would be too cold (next time!!).  After we got our ticketsdscf3948-edit, we hit the restrooms before catching the bus that took us the 15 minutes up the road to the base of the wall.  From there, we walked up to the gondola to take us up to the top of the mountain (you could walk it too if you were so inclined).  It was a fun ride up as we got some more views.

We made it!

Once we were at the top, we then had to decide which way we wanted to walk.  We opted to go turn left as I saw something in the distance that looked like it would be cool to check out.  It was fantastic being on top of the Great Wall.  There was hardly anyone there and this section of the wall was more true to form than others (Badaling I hear is quite touristy and pretty much just reconstruction).  We walked for a long time.  We finally made it to the bottom of some steps.  From the distance, it didn’t look that bad.  We then began the climb.

The Great Wall

It was a trek (I guess I’m not in as good of shape as I’d like to think!).  We stopped to take a break a couple times on the trek up the steps (or really, I just wanted to enjoy the view).  When we got to the final section to climb up, it was basically one way up and one way down.  We made it to the top and then took some pictures.  dscf4032There was someone selling souvenirs and drinks (even beer).  As we started getting ready to make our way back, we had to wait a moment while another group was coming up.  Someone (who looked to be a grandma) was finishing her climb (with her cane) and didn’t look to be out of breath at all.  Man, I was impressed!

Our time was almost up (we set to have a few hours before meeting up with the driver again), so we headed back to the gondola to ride back and catch the shuttle bus.  We did have a little time to do a little shopping in the ‘town’, so we picked up a silk table runner, a horse picture, and some other little knickknacks (be prepared to be bombarded and be prepared to haggle).

For the Future

The Great Wall is definitely a sight to see.  I’m hoping to explore to the right the next time we visit Mutianyu as well as take the toboggan ride down.  It’ll also be neat to see it during a different season.  We’re also hoping to visit some other sections, like one that is a train ride away ending at the water.  Stay tuned for those trips!

TOTE:  It was fantastic being on top of the Great Wall.