18/05/2016

China Archives - Trekking The Great Wall of China - Part I

On the 13th October 2011 I set off with my dear friend Dave to embark on an adventure. We went to China to trek sections of the Great Wall around Beijing for six days in aid of a Charity of our choice.

I thought that it would be great to document the whole adventure in the same style that it was written in my journal because before I had gone and was trying to research things about the wall etc, I found it really difficult to find any bloggers or writers who had done a similar trek and I really wanted an honest opinion about what I would be getting myself into! I hope that you’ll find this helpful and enjoyable in some way. It was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget as long as I live (well, I hope that’s the case – my memory sucks!) At least having the trip down on both paper and my blog will keep the memory alive.



The Trip: Trekking The Great Wall of China for six days.
The Charity: Cancer Research UK
Would I recommend this organisation again? Absolutely! If I could afford to, I would book another trip with them. From start to finish they were brilliant – only one problem occurred and that was that my friend and I didn’t receive a vegetarian meal on the return flights to China. We didn’t inquire further into it as we’d forgotten about it when we returned home (or at least I did).
So here we go…
Below: Dave and I just before heading for the Departure Lounge at Malta airport.
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14.10.2011 – 6:35pm I’ve finally lay down after our long journey. I’m in China! I feel like I have to pinch myself to make sure that it’s not just a dream. After over ten months of planning it has finally happened. No backing out. 

On seeing the wall for the first time I gave myself two minutes to doubt myself. I vividly remember thinking ‘what the hell have I gotten myself into?’ with my jaw wide open and my head plastered to the van window.

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First glimpse
It's been a long day of travelling. After waking up at 3am on the 13th I've had about two hours sleep. I think that it's been a total of twenty three hours since I slept properly and I'm definitely feeling deprived!

Despite having a free day when we arrived at our first lodge, it was still very busy. The first thing we did was to settle into our rooms. The accommodation is basic but fine. The beds are another story altogether. I’ve never felt a mattress quite as hard as the one that I’m lying on now! In fact I’m wondering if there actually is a mattress. The floor might be softer.

After lunch we decided that it would be a good idea to ‘stretch our legs’ by climbing a section of the wall which our lodge was located right next to.

What. A. Climb.

The steps were incredibly steep and high and I hadn’t bothered to bring my trekking poles. Somebody had marked one of the top steps as 1500 but we did go on for about another 200 steps. I am so proud of myself to have made it so far, especially with only 2-3 hours’ sleep.  The upward climb was deceiving though. I would look upwards and it would seem like we couldn’t possibly go any higher…then I get to the top and there’s another upward climb. 

I had to tell myself just to take one step at a time.
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I can’t believe that I haven’t said anything about the views yet! All I can say is that they are out of this world. Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. I have never experienced such magnificence on this kind of scale before. 

Every corner turned is a photo opportunity.



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Going back down was tough because my legs had literally turned to jelly – but I made it.


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