Another week, another story. Last week I joined a group of professional tourists to go visit part of the Great Wall. Waste no time, right?
Mutianyu is one of the most famous parts, but it's not actually that touristy. Not yet at least. A large portion of visitors are international travelers. Michelle Obama and other First Ladies and dignitaries have visited it, but it's got less kitsch than a more well-traveled part like Badaling. OK, so they did take us into some sort of 3D history experience that I could have done without, but the wall itself was as expected. Stunning.
|Scenes from the wall...no touch-ups needed...|
An expat I was talking to a few weeks ago laughed one day, saying, "Thousands of years of history and what do they have here? A wall." Part of me thinks he's right. It's funny that a wall is the big attraction, but the scale is just mesmerizing. It's over 13,000 miles long and perched along the ridges of some very inconvenient hills and mountains. Yeah, it's just a wall, but what a wall!
Look at the Eiffel Tower or the Tower of Pisa. They aren't really as impressive by comparison. Are they? Sure, they are their own feats, and modern times have clearly produced more spectacular things. But this wall is hundreds of years old. It's the same feeling I get when I visit Notre Dame. It's just a church, sure, but imagining the people building it, the achievement, the innovation, it's all very exciting for a history geek like me.
|I'll take it...|
The rest of the week was relatively boring. Work, then work, then more work. Fortunately I can cross the wall of my list of things to do, at least the Mutianyu branch. I think there might be some more wall-related surprises coming up soon. I should get my hiking shoes ready...