“If you want to know where the Great Wall is, it’s at the bottom of people’s hearts.”
– Chinese Proverb
It means: if the people make a concerted effort, and their wills unite like the Great Wall, the people will overcome all troubles together.
Other than that, this post isn’t about Chinese proverbs or uniting to overcome obstacles, it’s about my second visit to The Great Wall of China (first visit – click here).
After my teaching in China was done I took the night train back to Beijing to meet up with Tiril who decided to spend her vacation with me. The night train takes about 10 hours and after lugging my suitcase around a bit I just decided to grab a cab and get my ass to the hostel I had been told to show up at. It was hot, cobblestone here and there (good for suitcase wheels) and I was tired af so I got a bit disoriented on the way, feeling the alley/lane where the hostel was supposed to be was longer than walking from Central Park down to my hostel in NY on 21st street… I DIGRESS!
I made it. I found Tiril. She was just waking up so we were identically tired, hot and out of it. Luckily for Tiril I was just dumping my stuff then heading back out because I had an appointment with a dermatologist to get a mole checked in case it was cancerous. No worries, it wasn’t – made my whole life to get that confirmed, I’ll tell you. So the rest of the day we ate food, hung out, talked and slept. No point exerting ourselves completely Day 1.
Not when we had huge plans the next day! The Great Wall of China TAKE TWO! For the both of us!
We did a full day trip to the Mutianyu area of the Great Wall and this trip was full of the magic I only had two minutes of the last time. The girl behind the counter at the hostel seemed worried we wouldn’t make it there by ourselves because we had to “take three buses and a taxi”, but it was in fact fairly straight forward after we consulted the Holy Intarwebb a bit. We bussed it all the way out there and got on a cable car up the small mountain to see the wonderful wall stretch as far as the eye could see.
Fun Fact: The Great Wall of China has been called the longest cemetery on Earth. Over a million people died building the Wall and archaeologists have found human remains buried under parts of the wall.
It was magnificent. There’s no other word for it. I felt all of me swell in awe when I saw it and I just started smiling… Finally, my textbook encounter with this insane feat of human architecture was complete.
We spent almost three hours up there and had planned to do the toboggan back down, but in the end we prioritized staying with the wall as long as possible. We got the cable car back down, wading through the road of different shops (me tempted to buy a large straw hat beautifully painted with a motif from the wall… (I CAN’T HELP MYSELFFF!!!)… only $38… I didn’t in the end) and emerging on the other side just in time to figure out where the bus going straight back to Beijing was waiting (where was this bus going UP?).
On the way down I stumbled upon the prettiest pictured I’ve taken in China… Either this was for a magazine or this was a real wedding shoot, we never found out, but I remember sneaking a photo of the two of them and then just watching them for a while with a real “Wow!” look on my face. The woman saw me, gave me a huge smile and a little thank you nod – probably because I looked like I was seeing the most gorgeous photo op ever in the two of them ❤