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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Great Wall

On my long list of things that need to get done, (just after shave my legs and find the bottom of the kitchen sink) is edit photos from China.  There just wasn't the time (or priority) to do it while we traveled.  And since our blog is printed regularly and becomes our family photo album, I will post all of my China pics here.  I look forward to editing and find it relaxing, so I'm sure my lazy self will carve some time to it amidst the laundry and cleaning.

These China recap posts will be picture heavy.  I just need to get them posted so we have them.

It has been fun editing the images and looking at them in hind sight, remembering where we were only a little over a month ago.  The kiddos that didn't go, have had fun seeing where we were, and the kiddos that did go have had fun rehashing all the details.
The drive to the Great Wall started on a drizzly day.  But as we climbed in elevation the rain eventually gave way to snow flurries.  The roads were lined with poplars.  We were told by our driver, that the tress were planted by the Chinese government to try to reduce air pollution.  I'm not sure if the trees made a significant dent in the pollution problem.  The air pollution was the worst I had ever seen.
Is it a shovel?  is it a broom?  Is it a snowplow?  Yes, it's a universal tool!
These people obviously weren't used to snowy conditions.  It was amusing to see the  wide variety of homemade tools used to shovel snow.  Most common we saw a piece of plywood attached to a 2x4.  Here a man used a twig broom to sweep the snow away.  
There are many sections of the Great Wall open to tourists.  The section we visited was call Mutianyu.  It is a smaller section not open to tour buses. 
There was a LOT of this going on on our way up to the wall.  This was one of about 50 cars we came across that was stuck and likely slipping backwards.  Not that we want to perpetuate the whole "Asian driver" stereo type.  But it was bad!  The smaller tour vans were not cut out for slippery conditions and these folks had little experience in snowy slippery driving conditions.  At this moment, it was just faster for us to get out and walk past all the cars that were trying to make it up the final incline.  This was only a couple inches of snow.  But it wreaked havok with the local.  
The higher we climbed to the wall, the more snow there was.  At the entrance there was only a dusting up to an inch.  At the actual wall there was about 3-4 inches.
The final steps to the wall.  
I fit into the "special" category.
The low lying clouds and weather made the wall very mystical feeling and dreamy.   We heard that snow on the Wall is considered good luck.  We felt very lucky to have been there with this rare weather.
The step on the wall were very very steep.  Coupled with a couple inches of snow, it was incredibly slippery.  
A kiss on the Wall!  So amazingly romantic!  
On our way out, Patch was sure to take the opportunity  to  make a snow angel.  
Papa dubbed these steps the "Hillary steps" as only 1 person at a time would go up or down them because of the conditions.  Coming down the steps, people were being pelted with snow balls. Old, young, no matter the nationality, everyone who went down was a target of snowballs when coming down the steps.  We participated in a 20 min snowball fight with people who couldn't speak each other's languages and were from many nations.  Everyone seems to be full of smiles and joyful.  It was an amazing moment.  
We stopped at the bottom for coffee and hot chocolate.  Or maybe we had tea.  


  1. Gorgeous! I hope to see it in person someday :-)

  2. The Great Wall covered in a dream. Jealous! ;)

  3. Just beautiful! Not sure I've ever seen such beautiful pictures of the Great Wall! I really envy your talent with the camera!!

  4. Wonderful memories Nancy - the Wall is a tribute to many things - and brilliant in the extreme. No stone larger than any single man could lift - towers with blind alleys to confuse your enemy and narrow halls so they must pass one at a time - every step a different height and different depth so they must watch their feet instead of you - just some of the "genius" that went into the Great Wall!

    And to be there in the snow - you and your family are Blessed!

    And the photo work - you captured so much brilliantly - you've got the gift of the 'eye'!

    hugs - aus and co.

  5. These are some really nice pics, Martha!
    What beautiful memories you guys made. <3

  6. Beautiful pictures. I lived in Taiwan for 2 years and have been to Hong Kong several times, even China once for work but have never visited the Great Wall. What a great experience for your kids.


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