Humpty Dumpty may have sat on a wall and had a great fall, but was it The Great Wall of China? It's often said that if you're a foreigner in China and you haven't seen The Great Wall, then you haven't really seen China. Well I'll elaborate on that and add if you haven't camped out on The Great Wall, you ain't seen nothin' yet either!!!
After a week of trying to book a date with a tour guide recommended to us by friends, things were beginning to look bleak. Our English speaking tour guide had sliced his foot and could no longer walk, his replacement wasn't available the days we needed and till 10.30pm the night before our planned walk we still hadn't received confirmation. Finally the morning of our walk came followed by one last hitch. Our van had broken down before they could pick us up. Taking this as an opportunity, we kicked back and enjoyed the coolness of the department store and chilled with a coffee from Costa.
After quite a delay we finally reached our destination where the most divine lunch was prepared by couple from a local farmhouse. As dish upon dish was brought out and our tummies filled to the brim we all found it hard to put our chopsticks down, but down they had to go as there weren't going to be any toilets out in the bush.
As we began our hike, we passed signs saying "this section of the Great Wall is prohibited", just the perfect type of activity for me I thought. Our guide explained that tourists hardly came to this part but locals enjoyed this hike. After a steep hike, sweat steaming off us like we'd just stepped out of a hot shower, we looked up and there before us the Great Wall had magically appeared.
As our guide Wong Bin set up camp for us, he gave us a walkie talkie and sent us exploring. Perhaps the best part of going to a section of The Great Wall which is unmanned is that you really felt like you could do anything. Taking risks we stumbled up and over sections which had crumbled away over time to see exquisite views of China's landscape.
As night closed in around us, we set up camp in what can only be described as a Lord of The Rings type setting as our guide spoilt us with dinner, snacks, wine and marshmallows. Going around the group we shared what we loved and disliked about China and the feeling was quite unanimous, we all loved the community living which China fosters so well, the people and the food. We didn't like poo, spitting and the fact people had to work so hard to make a living.
The next morning our guide took us to a part of the wall which had a bush growing within it and where many parts of the wall had crumbled away. It was a tough hike but well worth it... Finally I felt like I could own with pride a t-shirt that said 'I climbed The Great Wall and survived', only prob is there wasn't anyone around to sell me this shirt ahhh well, another time!
Like any story that involves me in it there is going to be an overshare and an accident involved. I just gotta say, peeing in the bush is surprisingly fun. I'd much rather pop a squat behind a tree any day then in one of those stinky squatting toilets. Note to self, bug repellent on the butt wouldn't have gone astray annnnnnnnd surprise surprise like Humpty Dumpty I took a great fall but thankfully it wasn't off The Great Wall but hiking back down from it.
P.S Camping on the Great Wall of China - can now be crossed off my bucket list! Wooohoooooo
P.P.S Don't forget to check out the photos