“This is, indeed, a great wall.”
Those are the words of Richard M. Nixon, who in 1972, famously traveled to Beijing, breaking 25 years of silence between the US and China and paving the road for improved relations with Soviet-controlled Moscow.
I wasn’t alive then, but from what I read, the world watched closely, and I imagine many of my fellow Americans must have been captivated by the images of Nixon walking along China’s Great Wall.
I’ve wanted to visit for as long as I can remember, and this week I did. Millions of visitors flock to the ancient structure each year. And the day I arrived was no exception. Most of the people I saw were armed with SLRs. I had my trusty iPhone4 and a bottle of water.
There are many adjectives one could use to describe the wall. Breathtaking, stunning, overwhelming, epic! All true. I found the massive stone fortification incredibly photogenic, stretching as far as the eye could see along the jagged mountain ridge. My patient travel companion indulged as I stopped every 5 feet to snap another shot.
We visited the Mutianyu section – about 90 minutes northwest of Beijing. The mountains are surrounded by fruit orchids and tiny hamlets. It was an uncharacteristically clear and sunny day. We could see the outline of China’s smoggy capital city as we explored the pride of the Ming Dynasty. We rode cable cars to the top and slid down on a toboggan ride. It was magical and surreal. It was perfect.
I took a million and one photos, and these were some of my favs. Would love to know what you think. And please share your experiences if you’ve been lucky enough to travel there as well.