[If you haven’t been keeping up with my travels, check them out here!]
We wanted to go see the Great Wall today, but didn’t want to go to the “touristy” sections that were certain to be packed. We decided on going to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. It was pretty complicated trying to find our way, and we were running short on time and couldn’t find the bus we wanted. A woman who worked for the bus station ended up connecting us with another group of 3 foreigners who were able to explain a better (albeit, even more complicated) alternative. They were planning on going to Jinshanling and then walking the wall to Simatai. They said it was going to be 10 kilometers and about 4 hours. Despite my concerns, Nick and Olivia wanted to go, so I finally agreed.
After some intense haggling over prices, we took taxis for about an hour to parking lot 2 and started our trek while the taxi drivers went to wait for us at the other part of the wall. The women we met were from Germany and Austria, but 2 were fluent in Chinese (as well as English)! We enjoyed getting to know them on our walk – talking about teaching in America, life in Taiwan, their jobs, and other random things. Thankfully their pace was about the same as ours, and we all enjoyed stopping for lots of pictures!! Here are just a few:
Despite my concerns in the beginning, we did not die of hunger, thirst, or exhaustion. We also did not get lost! It was a great once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we made some awesome new friends! And we had a lot more fun than we would have had by ourselves. My legs are about to fall off, but I think it was worth it!
Our new friends even showed us where to get delicious duck for dinner. We had wanted to try it – but didn’t know how to find somewhere that was tasty and not just a “tourist trap”!