When walking through the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden city, it was easy to convince myself that I was on some sort movie set.  It was hard to convince myself that it's actually real.

I did not have that problem on the Great Wall.

We started by trudging up an alley created by vendors selling "I Climbed the Great Wall" tshirts and Mao hats.
Patt and Baseemah in front of vendors.
We continued to trudge up to the the cable cars that ferried us up the mountain to the wall itself.  We climbed some more steps, then found ourselves on the Great Wall itself.
It is the most phenomenal structure I have ever seen.  It literally goes on and on and on.  I could count the beacon towers over mountains, then more mountains, then more until they became specks in the distance.

The Wall is difficult to walk on.  The steps are very steep and worn.  The path itself is very well made, but, well, old.  It is very up and down, sometimes at 35 degrees or more.  But the hard walk is worth every minute of the breathtaking scenery.

Going back down the mountain was a breeze.  We took the metal luge down to the bottom and it was totally fun.  I have no pictures because I was trying to hold on.   It is worth the 24 hours of travel time, the jet lag, the cost of the tickets just to see the Great Wall.  Plus, you feel appreciated on the way up!


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