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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Great Wall of China

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Does everyone have a list, 
written or unwritten, 
of all the things they want to do and/or to see 
in their lifetimes? 

The Great Wall of China 
has been part of my dreams 
for as long as I can remember. 

For all of my life it had been a distant dream in my mind. 
One of those dreams that remained vague, without a real plan to achieve. 
Just always ..."one day" glimmered in my mind for a brief few minutes ... 
then back to reality ...  
everyday going to work, paying bills, 
and taking much smaller, less expensive trips. 

But, on June 23, 2013, 
I saw The Great Wall of China, Mutianyu Section in person. 
My first glimpse of The Wall was from the parking lot 
far below The Wall, far below the entrance to the site, 
and far below the loading platform for the cable cars in the photo. 

Two options for reaching The Wall high up on the mountain tops.

Option One:  A 30-minute (for teenagers, longer for mature women), 
uphill all the way, HIKE!

Option Two: A 5- to 10-minute hike uphill to the ticket entrance, 
then to a cable car platform 
for a 5-minute cable car ride to the top. 
Which one you ask did I choose? 
Hmmm...the cable car photo is a clue.

More than 3000 miles long and built off and on from about 220 B.C. 
to the mid-1700s, much of The Wall as it is today was restored and rebuilt 
in the mid-1600s to the mid-1700s.
 The Mutianyu section was completed before the mid-1600s 
and was most recently restored in the early 1980s. 

Dressed as Genghis Khan, he is a reminder that The Wall was built 
to deter invaders from the north. 

The Mutianyu section has 23 gates or guard towers and is located about 
two hours from Beijing, China. 
Two other sections are closer to Beijing which means fewer 
tourists visit this section. 
The cable car platform at the top is near Gate 14. 

I touched The Great Wall with both my hands and 
walked up and down it marveling at the awesomeness of THE WALL. 

There were other visitors that day, 
but frequently there were periods when no one else 
was in view nearby.

Leaning out the openings, I gazed silently for long minutes at other gates 
and long sections of the wall, pondering its beauty, endurance, 
and significance to both the Chinese and the rest of the world.

Look at that WALL, that GATE, and
 that beautiful BLUE SKY on the day my tour group was at The Wall. 
Our guide said the group he escorted the week before had 
rainy, horrible weather in which the Wall was fogged in. 
Those tourists could barely see the Wall in front of them. 

Oh, how fortunate that I was able to see The Wall 
of my dreams! 

Look really, really hard at the photo above.  
There are two teeny, tiny 'gates' on the mountain ridge 
in the distance.  See them on either side of the large gate in the foreground? 

Up and down mountain ridges for as far as the eye could see, 
we could see The Wall atop mountain ridge after mountain ridge. 
I knew it stretched for thousands of miles, but never 
realized how much of it is visible to the naked eye 
all at one time. 

The Great Wall of China completes the unwritten list 
from my youth of places to visit. 

As I stare at this photo, I am instantly back on The Wall 
in that moment marveling at the unbelievable grandeur 
and the unbelievable reality that I was really there, 
on The Great Wall of China.
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  1. Oh, Judith! What beautiful photographs! Though I've seen photos before of the Great Wall, I was brought to tears knowing that these photos were the realization of a life-long dream of yours. So both beauty for the eye and beauty for the heart! I'm so glad you got to take this trip and that the weather was perfect for seeing the wall in all of its glory. Now you need to add another place to your "list"!

  2. Oh, what a fabulous trip you had! The trip of a lifetime! I am very happy you were able to make this dream come true. The pictures are amazing!

  3. How beautiful! We just finished a week of VBS. I was blessed to do "missions" class and we took a trip to China and Thailand each day. If I had seen your pictures first, I would have asked permission to share them! I enjoyed your virtual tour of the wall.

  4. Judith, this is wonderful that you travelled to a place on your list. The wall itself, and the scenery around it are breath taking. For me it is Ireland, and that will happen in June of 2014.
    I look forward to more photos shared of your trip.

  5. What a fantastic trip! My nephew is visiting China this week with his father. Your photos gave me a taste of what an experience he is having! Pinned to my travel board:) So glad you got to go!!!! I posted anchor dress to the Creative party:)

  6. I can't believe you have finished your list. The Great Wall is on my list, but I still have so many other things to complete. I added a lot along the way and have done many things not on the list.

    Your photos are wonderful and thanks for the tip about the gondola.

  7. Your trip certainly was the culmination of a life long dream, and your photos are a beautiful history of your trip. You took magnificent pictures. I've never seen such lovely shots of the wall! Thanks for taking us along. Cherry Kay

  8. That would have been a wonderful trip. My itchy feet need to go somewhere, I think!

  9. I love dream come true stories! I'm so happy that you finally got this trip to China. I can't even imagine how overcome with emotion you must have been the moment of your first wall sighting. Your pictures are so beautiful and really provide a sense of reality for those of us reading along. Thank you for sharing a little of your experience.

  10. Fantastic photography of the Wall ~ I remember it well ~ lovely ~ So glad to got to China and The Great Wall ~

  11. You completed a list! WOW.

    Thanks for taking me along on this fabulous trip.

    Happy Blue Monday!

  12. We did the same visit in 2009! Loved it. Great photos!!

  13. It looks as though you had an absolutely amazing adventure!

    Blue Riversong of Holiness

  14. Looks great, what a fantastic dream trip come true, bravo

    I'm inviting you to also link up with us for Travel Photo Mondays today, come join us.

  15. i'm so glad you were able to see this amazing space in person. my boyfriend was in china for work and thought he could go, but it was still a 2 hour flight from shanghai, plus an hour's drive. it's too bad.

  16. Just beautiful! Thanks for sharing your amazing photos and for taking us along with you! So happy you shared at Amaze Me Monday!

  17. Just fabulous! You have shared the wonderful pictures of the great wall which can attract anyone towards itself. Though I have seen these pics but your pics are really interesting and remind me my amazing trip to China with my friends. I had a lot of fun in this place. This Wonderful Great Wall of China
    is the treasure of the world and an adventurous visiting place which always be a dream of everyone. Thank you for this lovely post its really heart touching and I have a lot of eagerness towards your net post. So keep it up.


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