Travel Theme: Walls

How could I pass this one up? I was fortunate to walk on THE WALL two years ago on my solo trek to Beijing.

The Great Wall at Mutianyu was rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty in the 16th century upon the foundations of the wall built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (AD 550-77).

The Great Wall at Mutianyu was rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty in the 16th century upon the foundations of the wall built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (AD 550-77).

Before my once-in-a-lifetime visit to this testament to the determination of man, I did a lot of research and saw images of breath-taking vistas and panoramas of the wall snaking across the mountain ridges. However, that was not my wall. My wall was shrouded in mist…a mist that turned into the most awesome thunder and lightning storm I’ve ever experienced. At 3 PM, the black sky was punctuated with flashes of brilliant light that revealed torrents of rain.

An hour before the skies opened and Zeus let loose with his thunderbolts, I was lost on top of the wall. YES! I was alone and lost, standing at a Y in the wall, not recognizing a single brick or stone. To my relief, I was saved by young tourists from Northern Europe who pointed the way to the tram. Oddly enough, I was not afraid, only bemused, thinking, well, if I die, at least I’ve had this incredible adventure. I did not, however, welcome the idea of spending the night alone, huddled against the cold on the top of the wall.

Click on any image for a better view and description. 

As I am putting together this post, Billy Joel’s song toys with my memory. Why not? Here, for your enjoyment, is one of my favorite artists:

We could have gone all the way to the Great Wall of China if you’d only had a little more faith in me

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

Do you have a photo which invites the viewer to look beyond? Are there hidden depths in the background? Is the focal point just a framing for the rest of the picture? If it’s not clear why we should look beyond, tell us! “

Hutong Doorway

Hutong Doorway

Last summer, I traveled from Shanghai to Beijing by myself and spent five days visiting the ancient sites. My favorite tour was in the Hutong area, the ancient neighborhoods of narrow streets and courtyard residences. Stop for a moment with me and look beyond the worn threshold.

Sunday Post: Work

When I saw the topic of this Sunday’s Post, I wondered if I should go out and find someone working; however, I remembered I had shot quite a few images of people at work during my stay in China last summer.

I find it interesting that I still have not gotten comfortable taking similar pictures here in my own city and country. I guess there’s something about being a tourist that gives me (in my mind) license to shoot just about anything.

And now, I’m off to the gym before returning to my work, prepping my lessons for the week. I hope you all have a satisfying and productive work week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hutong

I was enchanted by the hutongs of Old Beijing. These narrow alleyways/streets are created by courtyards (siheyuan) that house several families (nine where I visited). Walls of the courtyards add privacy and keep out evil spirits who are unable to turn corners. Hutong is a Hun word meaning “water well” The story is that during the Hun occupation, as they took their cattle down the narrow alleys for water each morning, the Chinese asked where they were going. They responded “to the hutong.” The Chinese, misinterpreting, took that to mean the narrow streets.

The Mutianyu Great Wall

When I was in Beijing, I chose the Mutianyu Great Wall over the Badaling Great Wall because it was advertised as less crowded. I had seen incredible shots of endless vistas revealing the immense structure snaking across the mountain ridges and looked forward to capturing similar images.

However, it was not to be as a fierce storm set upon us … actually, when I was alone on top of the wall. For a few minutes, when I was standing at a juncture, with the rain falling in sheets and lightning painting the sky much too close for my comfort, I did not know which way to turn. I had moments of true concern (fear?) thinking of the tour van leaving at the scheduled time while I wandered in the pelting rain on top of the mountain.

While I was on the Great Wall, the mist enveloping the mountain soon turned to heavy rain, thunder, and lightning…gifting me with a fantastic display of Nature’s power and beauty.

The narrow, steep steps posed a slippery challenge in the rain.

The Great Wall at Mutianyu was rebuilt during the Ming dynasty in the 16th Century upon the foundations of the wall originally built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (AD 500-77).