Around an hour and a half from Beijing, you’ll find the most visited section of the Great Wall of China, Badaling.
The Great Wall of China surely is one of the worlds most famous man- made works. With an official length of nearly 21.200 km (over 13.000 miles) and a history that dates back 2300 years, I can ensure you that it’ll be an attraction you absolutely cannot miss!
Our group rented a bus to drive us out to the Badaling spot, where we were quick to realize how bad our choice in clothing for the day had been.. We were there in mid march, and even though we went without coat for the most part during our stay in Beijing, we had to do some jumping jacks in order to stay warm. Even though the skies were blue and not a single cloud was spotted, the freezing breeze hit us right away! I had to borrow my friends knitted sweater in order to stay warm – so if you travel during the start or end of the year, be aware of the wind and do not underestimate it!
Visiting the Great Wall had long been one of my biggest wishes, and it is hard to describe just how wonderful it felt, to finally stand on The Great Wall!
Our group had to make small presentations of the different sites we visited, and one of the things i was shocked to find out was the extent of workers and the way they were treated. The emperor ordered criminals, soldiers and peasants to build the wall, which is estimated to be around 20% of the Chinese population at the time. If a worker died due to the hard construction work, his bones would end up as part of The Great Wall. It also automatically resulted in his widow taking over his job. The construction started during the spring and autumn period (11th century BC – 223 BC) to keep out invaders.
A walk on the Great Wall is more or less comparable to climbing a mountain. Suddenly you’ll find yourself standing a certain place on the wall, looking straight down seeing completely vertical steps (which in my case was a challenge, since a lot of the steps was the same height as a quarter of my leg..)
We only had around an hour on the Wall, due to a compact schedule, so we practically ran up The Great Wall – and let me tell you! You’ll feel it in your legs, especially on the way down!
When you are standing on the wall, seeing as far away as possible, you can’t help but feel small. Small compared to this huge piece of construction, which used to defend the Chinese people. Keep in mind the excessive amount of workers and deaths this piece of history has consumed – that’ll surely give you thing or two to think about.
Construction and design
If you study courses like design, a trip to The Great Wall of China will blow your mind! These workers managed to build a wall on tall mountains with both gutters and towers – Europeans didn’t have much to compete with.
I am a design student, and so we had to take photos for our portfolio, draw a site on the wall and in general take in all impressions from our
trip, to analyse later on in class.
Bargain in the giftshop!
Okay, I am well aware that this is optional and not even close to a must see attraction, yet you have to explore the giftshop at Badaling – I promise you you won’t be disappointed. Although very pricy in general, you can, like in rest of China, come a long way by bargaining. “100 元? 不! 太贵了”And all of a sudden you’ll end up with a t-shirt saying “I climbed The Great Wall of China” and a wine bottle cover for 60元..
I had the best time at Badaling, and I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to go there again! In fact, my family and I are planning on going next summer – fingers crossed!