Great Wall, Mutianyu: This section of the wall is located in Huariou County 70 km northeast of central Beijing. This is not the section of the wall that most people do day trips to from Beijing and that made a big difference once we got to the wall. We took a local bus to the city of Huariou and then a taxi to a hotel in Mutianyu. The bus station was easy enough to find in Beijing but there are no English signs or language spoken anywhere so it takes some diligence to get where you want to be. We had one "official" looking bus person try to scam us into getting off the bus earlier than we should in order that we'd have to take an overpriced taxi to Mutianyu. However, we suspected something was up and stuck to our plan to get off where our directions told us to, which was really by the side of the road where a bunch of taxis line up.
|The day was brilliantly sunny and the taxi ride through the country side delightful. We left Beijing mid-morning and arrived in Mutianyu early afternoon. This is my first glimpse of the wall from the taxi. Even at this distance - impressive!|
|The Brickyard Hotel in Mutianyu where we stayed for one night. This photo is not great but you can see our beds, a wall of windows, just out side a private courtyard and the mountain in the distance. It was nice but terrifically over priced. (I guess they are maintaining Olympic year fees.) November is off season and we got no discount. Breakfast is included in the room cost but not other meals and there is really no where else to eat in Mutianyu so they got you. Price of dinner - astronomical for what you got. For example $30 for nachos. Note to self: find other accommodation next time.|
|You can hike up the mountain to the wall but since time was short for us we chose the gondola.|
|My favourite photo of the wall. Looking north about 3pm in the afternoon.|
|Looking south along the wall.|
For as far as you can see both ways the wall had been restored. A magnificent work of stone.
|From one of the guard houses this is looking north. The wall goes for quite a distance and had we more time I would have liked to hike it to the top. But we arrived mid-afternoon and the wall closed at 5pm so next time.|
|These steps are really, really steep. The photo does not do it justice. Honestly it was like straight up.|
|There was a skiff of snow. In sunny parts it melted but here on the northeast side you can see it.|
It was cold on the wall. The sun warmed you when you stood in it but in the shade, brrrrr..... Luckily there was no wind.
|No picnic but we took tiny mandarin oranges to eat. We sat in the sun, in silence, marveled at the incredibleness of it all and ate the sweetest oranges I have ever tasted. It was like a Leonard Cohen moment.|
|The sun is setting and it is time to leave.|
|As the sun set the light was lovely on the wall.|
|Cat time! |
Back in Mutianyu here's a local white cat with one green and one blue eye. Very common in China.
|A cat of a different stripe. Bumble cat graffiti.|