Yesterday we had the pleasure to explore as a family one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall of China. Our Hong Kong friends recommended Mutianyu, a section of the wall located in Huairou County which is over an hour northeast of Beijing. One of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu section used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. First built in the early Ming Dynasty, Mutianyu Great Wall features 22 watchtowers on a 2,250 meter-long stretch. Both the outer and inner parapets are crenelated with merlons, so that shots could be fired against the barbarian nomadic hordes attacking on either sides.
We intended catching a public bus to Mutianyu, but God sent this driver to us just at the right time and place. For a great price we travelled in speed and comfort there and back.
The driver parked the car at the foot of the hills, where market stalls line the sides of the road.
A two-rider chairlift took us up from the foothills to the level of the wall, which runs along the ridges above.
We're on The Great Wall!
I liked the way that visitors can tackle as much or as little of the Wall as they like.We walked around the Wall for several hours until our legs ached and our lips grew chapped from the chilly wind.
Lollipops are a great incentive to keep going!
The children unanimously agreed that the best thing about Mutianyu was the toboggan sled we used to descend from the Wall to the valley on a winding metal track. Just between you and me I was slightly terrified on the thing!
We enjoyed the sights and sounds at the bottom of the hill too.
We bought some chocolate pancakes from this lady as an afternoon snack.
We also purchased some souvenir t-shirts from the market stalls.
And, no, we didn't see any rabbits while we were there, so The Great Wall is still doing a good job keeping the rabbits out.
There was a mighty cute little girl there, though...