“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” - Lao Tzu
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
The Great Wall
I got picked up at 7:30am this morning to go and visit the Great Wall. I was part of a small tour group travelling in a mini-van, with only 5 guests, a guide, a trainee guide, and a driver. The other tourists included a New Zealand couple and a Swedish couple.
As well as visiting a section of the Great Wall, we also had a tour of the Ming tombs and stopped in for tours of a jade workshop, a copper enamelling workshop, a silk workshop, and finally a tea-tasting ceremony.
Although it was pretty clear the primary purpose of the visits to each of the workshops was to tempt us to buy souvineers from there, the tours themselves were pretty informative and there was no pressure to buy anything, so it was still worthwhile.
But of course the highlight of the day was the Great Wall itself. I won't talk much about it because there isn't much to say that hasn't been said by millions of other people, but suffice to say it is one of those destinations you must visit to really appreciate.
We were very lucky with the weather - it was beautiful, sunny and warm. There was some haze in the air (as there has been since I left Australia), but visibility was still good. The haze just added a bit of atmosphere to my photos.
The drive from Beijing out to the section of wall we visited took a couple of hours, and I had a chance to admire the landscape of rural China a bit. Being the end of Autumn it was stark, but still beautiful. Jagged hills, leafless trees, and many shades of orange.
I was surprised when I got back to my hotel and started processing my photos from the day just how much they seemed to remind me of paintings.