A champagne lunch on the Great Wall of China
Destination Expert Antonia experiences the Great Wall of China in total seclusion and with an incredible surprise at the end.
The Chinese believe that you can be no hero until you have climbed the Great Wall of China, so off we set in search of one of the ‘New’ Seven Wonders of the World, and for what became one of the most remarkable and memorable days of my recent trip. The Great Wall really is, an absolute ‘must’ when you are visiting China, and my advice would be to allow for a little more time and travel slightly further from Beijing to the more remote and quieter sections of the wall where there will hardly another soul in sight.
First things first, whilst it’s not true that the Great Wall is visible from space, it is a staggering 13,000 miles long, and stretches from the sea all the way through China’s northern territories, remaining a lasting symbol of China’s imperial power. The 2,000 year long construction period really was a true feat of human achievement, with continuous construction, destruction and maintenance over the years.
On a crisp November morning we embarked on our journey to the Huanghuacheng section of the wall, a 2-hour drive from the centre of Beijing, but totally worth the journey. Besides this area proved to be a photographer’s dream with astounding mountain peaks, stunning scenery and, in the summer months, a carpet of wild yellow flowers. Huanghuacheng is also known for its strategic importance as the natural protector of the nearby Ming Emperor Tombs, and hence you see many watchtowers scattered along the wall.
Our guide expertly led us along a resorted section of the wall which hugged the natural and changing contours of the mountains. The walk was wonderfully refreshing, and the perfect wild escape from the bustling city of Beijing and it was hugely rewarding to almost have the entire section of the wall to ourselves. Just when we thought the experience was over, we were greeted by a perfectly timed picnic lunch which was hiding in one of the wall’s many watchtowers, with the most incredible views of the surrounding landscape. It was a surreal moment. This surely has to be one of the world’s most picturesque lunch spots and something I would highly recommend to any clients visiting Beijing.