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The Great Wall of China

CHINA | Saturday, 9 August 2014 | Views [1059]

The Great Wall, snaking into the distance

The Great Wall, snaking into the distance

THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA, LIKE THE PYRAMIDS OF GIZA, is a national icon that ranks high on many a bucket list.  As well it should be.  And your first glimpse of the Wall is breath-taking, living up to every expectation.  But after exploring a kilometer or so and taking several dozen photos through the haze of pollution, the novelty wears off.  All that remains is to contemplate the enormity of the task, of the hundreds of thousands of man-years it took to build.  Construction of the wall started over 2000 years during the Qin dynasty.  Over the centuries additional segments built as protection against marauding nomads were linked making it truly a Great Wall.  


    The Great Wall in the great smog

We visited a renovated three kilometer section of the wall at Mutianyu built during the Ming dynasty.  It’s a popular tourist spot mainly because of the cable car access, much appreciated.  If only the air had been clear so the wall could be seen stretching into the distance instead of disappearing into the smutch of modern China’s polluted skies.


   Inside the Ming Tombs

We might well have given the Ming Tombs a miss.  There really isn’t much to see and what is there is littered with yuan bills thrown in by well-meaning tourists as good luck offerings.  We did skip out on the jade factory earning us a dirty look from Barry.  I guess we are not his normal type of clients.

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