China: Badaling. Back to the Wall, 5 years later.

Yesterday, I managed to spend a lovely day with my work colleagues on the Great Wall thanks to a work sponsored team building activity. With a few teachers having left recently, and a handful of new faces around the office, it was nice to be able to go out and spend a day together and learn a little more about each other.

While I haven’t always been a fan of team buildings in the past, mainly because I’ve felt they’ve always missed the point, they have vastly improved and I do enjoy them. It’s sad the Chinese teachers don’t feel the same way and none of them turned up (without actually telling anyone they wouldn’t, thus some of our budget was lost buying them tickets etc) even though the other Chinese staff, including the two cleaners, did. Their loss, but a shame nonetheleast.

I actually have been to Badaling before, about 5 and a half years ago, and didn’t enjoy my first trip to the wall. Going on a national holiday back then wasn’t the smartest thing I could have done, so the return trip was something I was looking forward to.

You may remember I did go to another part of the wall a couple of months back, a more remote part, but Badaling is certainly the most popular and well built up area. if one could use the phrase ‘more touristy’ then it would probably fit the bill.

Badaling (simplified Chinese: 八达岭; traditional Chinese: 八達嶺; pinyin: Bādálǐng) is the site of the most visited section of the Great Wall of China, approximately 50 miles (80 km) northwest of urban Beijing city in
Yanqing County, which is within the Beijing municipality. The portion of the wall running through the site was built during the Ming Dynasty, along with a military outpost reflecting the location’s strategic importance. The highest point of Badaling is Beibalou (traditional Chinese: 北八樓), approximately 0.63 miles (1,015 m) above sea level.

Source: wikipedia

I did take my camera, of course, and took some lovely photos of both Badaling and my work colleagues. I’ll spare you the photos of my co-workers but here are a few from the wall.

 

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I remember very clearly during my last trip to the Great Wall at Badaling that they had some bears near the entrance. No one else seemed to believe me, even those who had been before.

Sure enough, they did have bears.

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The toboggan ride up to the Wall is still one of the fun activities to do there, even if the trip is a fraction of the distance you would walk during the day.

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If you can look closely, this is the only picture of myself during the whole trip. It’s not that I don’t like taking photos of myself, I just never have the patience to ask someone.

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An incredibly beautiful site.

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Peeking through the wall.

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Our next stop was a place called the Sacred Way, which is a pathway heading towards the Ming Tombs. It’s the path taken by high ranking officials during funerals.

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Looking up at the sky.

With the temperature reaching 32C and a cool breeze throughout the day, it was simply a marvellous day to be outside. I even got a slight tan.

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Walking through one of the gateways.

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One of the many statutes along the path.

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The long march.

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One of the city officials looks on.

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An electric buggy will happily carry you along should you not feel the need to walk.

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Happy lion (or dog, or dragon… not always easy to tell.)

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One of the pavilions at the end of the walk.

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inside the pavilion,

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A prayer pillar.

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It really was a fun day. Since the school had organised the trip through a travel company were had to endure two stops at different jade factories, which may have not been half as bad if any of it was in English, but all Chinese (that didn’t stop the Chinese staff from being completely uninterested either).

Our lunch also was fairly ordinary. A large restaurant were you don’t get to order food, and they simply place an assortment of watery Chinese food on the tables.

Not that anyone goes on these things for the food, but  you know, after a long walk along the wall (2 hours of steep steps and slopes), you really do work up an appetite.

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I couldn’t help but take a photo of this car on my way to the wall. Can you spot why it’s so interesting?

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Yes, I am very immature sometimes.

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