This week’s theme is U – for Undulations.
I’ve taken a fairly liberal interpretation of that to mean hills, and valleys .. and so we start with the mountainous country around Beijing, in China.
And the Great Wall that is built along those mountains.
They say the Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space.
They say it, but it ain’t true .. on two counts.
First, if you consider ‘space’ to be orbit, for example, then you cannot see the wall. Sorry, but you can’t. It’s an urban myth.
But second, you CAN see the country of the Netherlands – which is, effectively, a man-made structure. Without its dykes, it simply would not exist as firm land.
But in any case, the Great Wall of China is an amazing edifice.
It is not, strictly speaking, a single wall – in fact, it’s a series of fortifications which stretch across the northern borders of China.
Work first began about 700 BCE – but little remains of that section, or of the famed sections of the wall built by the first emperor, Qin Shi Huang around 200 BCE
Most of the wall, as we know it today, comes from the 14th and 15th centuries, during the Ming dynasty.
The section in our picture is at Juyong Pass, or Juyongguan, near Beijing and sees thousands of tourists a day even in low season (as our trip was).
During high season for locals, you simply cannot move except as part of a mass of people.
But whatever time you visit, it is an awe-inspiring sight, and the sheer history involved is astounding.
We were part of a package tour – but independent travellers can get there by bus or by train; or you could take a cab or car – but even though its the closest section of wall to Beijing City, it IS 60km away, so that’s going to cost a bit.