Visiting the Great Wall in China

February 23, 2017 Paul Groves

Day 49 of 111. Xingang Port and Beijing, China

The plan was to eat breakfast very early (5:00 a.m.), pack, and be ready for our overnight excursion to Beijing at 6:00 a.m. The weather was very cold but the roads were unsafe due to the fog and ice. So, we ended up waiting for nicer conditions and took pictures of the snow on the upper outside deck of the ship. Many of the crew members are from Indonesia, so some of them were out making a snowman. We actually got on the road a little after 9:00 a.m.

Partway into the trip to Beijing, the roads were again closed. Crews were out re-deicing the roads by hand and we were again underway after 75 minutes. We saw huge towers used for creating heat for all of the high rise buildings where the people live. The towers looked like nuclear power plants to me, but the guide did not say. Many of the trees were wrapped to protect them from the cold weather. Our guide said that this snow was pretty unusual, but that the snow would be pretty on the Great Wall.

When we arrived at the Great Wall, we were not disappointed. It was cold, but not as bitterly cold as I had feared. Apparently there are five different parking lots and five different parts of the wall to visit and climb. I expected steps and level parts of the wall to walk on, but there were only steep slopes and steps in our section. Ron and I both climbed up several segments of the Wall and I tried the next higher segment, but the steps were icy and my legs started to cramp on the way up, so I decided that wisdom should take over from daring and we came down to ground level. Noelle is a crew member who accompanied the tour. Her red hair was a sensation with the Chinese and she ended up taking photos with about a dozen people before she could get away to climb.

Ron took a picture of me on the upper portion of the Great Wall and I took a picture looking down toward ground level. Climbing both up and down was made more challenging because the steps were rather tall and the snow had turned to ice.