Who’s up for a 4:30 am mountain climb? Here at IES Beijing, we’re always ready to climb mountains (refer back to my post about Yunnan and Tiger Leaping Gorge). I could write a book on how to climb mountains… well… how to be at peace at climbing mountains incredibly slowly after your group goes ahead of you #teamzuihou
We slept on traditional “kang” style beds, which was basically just a wooden bed half the side of the room that everyone slept on. A few hours of restless sleep later, we were awoken by a knock on our door at 4am, and half an hour later, we were off to the woods and up the mountain...
The afternoon before the climb we went to a different part of the wall:
So many stairs.
Immediately after reaching the Great Wall, Paul moved in. Taking off his shoes and setting out his apple, he claimed the wall as his own.
Here we are, China!
Izzy and Trevor representing Redlands Univerisity
And as per usual, Danny wearing his Penn State Shirt
And Caroline wearing her Rochester T-shirt... I think I missed a memo
A wonderful homemade Chinese dinner in the shadow of The Wall itself at our homestay
The fruits of our labor: The Great Wall at 5:45am
A few hours of restless sleep later, the view was worth memorializing
If you look carefully, not only can you see Izzy checking out the view, Trevor taking a selfie on his selfie stick, and Danny mastering his pano skills, but all the way up to the right is José, sitting on a DIFFERENT mountain! The Wall is just incredible. All three times I climbed it, I saw a different view and had a different experience.
Gao Laoshi made it up the mountain! We love our Laoshis here at IES Beijing. They make this program worthwhile.
If nothing else in China, we sure have seen some incredible sights and had some unimaginable experiences... Was it worth it to wake up at 4am and hike up a mountain in the dark? Absolutely.
(Will I do it again? I dont think my legs can handle another mountain. But if you ever get this offer, take it without hesitation.)
We've had hundreds of once in a life time experiences, and made hundreds of incredible memories with incredible people from all around the world. Having to say that in a few weeks, I'm coming home is bitter sweet. I totally miss my friends and family and my dogs (hey everyone!!) but even thinking about it makes me miss China already... Let's not talk about it just yet, okay?
Until next time, internet!
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<p>My name is Claire Vodicka and I travel to learn language and culture and grow as a person. I currently speak English, Spanish and Chinese, with a little bit of Italian on the side. I love to take pictures, especially of people; capturing their true emotions in the moment. I'm just enjoying my time in college and documenting every opportunity I have been blessed with.</p>