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Great Wall of China

China is not only half a world away from Australia, but it's also a completely different world of sights, sounds and smells. Our week and a half in China was certainly an experience we will never forget.

We spent 9 days in China on Intrepid's Taste of China tour. Our tour group of 10 people was lead by our wonderful guide Marcia. Without Marcia we would have struggled to order food in restaurants, catch trains or taxis, and just generally floundered in the chaos that is China. Thank you Marcia for all your help!

I know you're all waiting impatiently for an update, so I thought I'd try and post a highlight a day from our Chinese adventure. (But, I'm not making any promises!)

It has always been one of my life's ambitions to see the Great Wall, so when planning our China trip it was number one priority. I can say right now; it was totally worth doing! Put it on your to-do list today.

We visited the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. It is one of the best preserved sections of the wall and apparently is less touristy than the section at Badaling. Although, we did have to evade a street lined with hawkers at the bottom of the mountain. "Hallo Hallo Hallo, I recognize you! Tshirts! Only one dollar!".

We elected not to take the cable car to the top and after a steep climb of 1000 steps we arrived at the top of the mountain to a breath-taking view, the Great Wall of China. It was awe-inspiring! Obviously, no bull dozers or earth-moving equipment were available in the 6th century, so the wall was built entirely by the blood, sweat and tears of Chinese workers. To think that the wall runs for 6000 km along the north of China. That's from Sydney to Perth and half way back again. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to lug all that rock to the top of the mountain.

We traversed only a fraction of the wall, around 2km. Every now and again, I would stop for a moment and exclaim "Wow!". It was so impressive that words had escaped me.

Did you know?... It is often said that the Great Wall of China is the only man made object visible from space. However, this is an urban myth! The Great Wall is only a few metres wide, smaller than many freeways and motorways. It is also the same earthy colour as the country surrounding it. From a near-Earth orbit it is visible only under perfect conditions and it is no more obvious than many other man-made objects. Ed Lu, Expedition 7 Science Officer aboard the International Space Station, said "it's less visible than a lot of other objects. And you have to know where to look."

jess - 10th Sep 2006, 11:11 tags: travel great_wall_of_china unesco china intrepid

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