When I thought about the Great Wall before I came to China, I pictured a giant sturdy wall at least ten feet wide, lots of people, and lots of steps. Though that’s certainly an accurate description of many tourist-heavy sections of the Wall, the section we visited on our IES Abroad trip was so-called “unrestored.” It hasn’t been touched up and reinforced to support tourism, it’s just still standing from the time it was built.
We walked (half-hiked) for several minutes up an unassuming trail in the forest, led by a member of our host family, Mr. Liu, and then all of a sudden we were on the Wall, able to see for miles in all directions. The most surprising part was how narrow it was, just wide enough for one person to walk and not have to worry about falling off (though I certainly did still worry about that, clutching my camera as the wind threatened to knock me off the side of the Wall…)
The next morning we woke up around 4am in order to see the sunset from the Wall. This hike was much more difficult. Not only was it in complete darkness except for the little flashlights we each held, but my stomach was also suddenly feeling incredibly nauseous. With a few others I had to fall back and go slower, and as it slowly got brighter and brighter I thought I would miss the sunset altogether. Luckily I made it just in time, though admittedly it was a little hard to appreciate the beauty with stomach in the state that it was. Regardless, I got some great pictures and had the wonderful opportunity to witness a little slice of untouched history.
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<p>I'm a junior majoring in Asian Studies and minoring in Graphic Design and Leadership Studies. My favorite hobby is language learning, specifically Asian languages! I also enjoy making music and taking photos.</p>