Notice: the following post has spoilers!
Do you know that feeling of sadness blended in disappointment when you find out that Santa Claus does not exist?! I believed it for 7 years when another kid in school unveiled the sad truth. First I refused to believe him and later at home I asked my parents who confirmed it. I will never forget that day.
Twenty years later I experienced that same feeling again. I was happily hiking the Great Wall of China when someone told me that it cannot be seen from Space. It’s a myth.
I felt my thoughts crumble like a biscuit. WHAT?!?!
Apparently it is too thin to be seen from space. In fact, up to this date, nothing man-made can be seen from any higher than 300 miles away. The Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei confirmed this in 2003 and the Chinese government had to go onto changing school textbooks to agree with the new verdict.
Never less, the magnificence of this wall is incomparable. A series of fortifications with thousands of watch over towers complete the 20 000km long Great Wall of China, built over a period of 2000 years. Initially its purpose was for the love of grandiosity and to send the poor and unlawful Chinese to work. Later on it represented a defense wall against the Mongolians.
When we had to decide what part of the wall we wanted to visit we chose the Mutianyo stretch, hoping to get away from the crowds, since Badaling section is the most famous one. Mutianyo is only about 70 km away from Beijing, 1h30m drive. Northern Qi Dynasty built it from 550 to 577 A.D., and currently it is partly restored and partly “wild”.
After walking the wall for one hour and a half, mostly climbing uphill we reached the “wild” part I was so looking forward to see. Here, nature is taking over the stone bricks. Trees dig roots in the wall giving it an intriguing look. Unfortunately we didn’t attempt to go any further as we had to go back to our starting point to meet our driver and well, if we walked 1h30m uphill, then we had to walk it back down.
Despite the myth, I wasn’t disappointed at all! The Great Wall of China goes beyond where the eyes can see and it is as Great as its name.