Views during the ascent are stunning, even on a misty day.
But nothing beats the view from the top!
A clear drawback of going to the most popular spot is having to climb the wall with lots of other people, although I have to imagine that with the millions of people who visit each year, isolating the tourists helps to contain the wear and tear of this incredible structure to one manageable place. I have heard of other people hiking or camping the Great Wall. I've heard of others running the Great Wall marathon or half marathon (there was a marathon at the Wall earlier that week). After seeing it with my own eyes, I am even more impressed. Those stairs are no joke, even for this crossfitter!
So speaking of millions of people, I thought I would share with you some of the things I learned about what is acceptable and recommended etiquette and attire for climbing the Great Wall of China. Here goes!
Forget all that! We are in China, people! Where's my expensive new purse, my harem pants and my ballet flats? The drape-pocket harem pants were everywhere we went. Look out America. And these fold-up multi-colored bolero hats were selling like crazy at the souvenir stands. Keepin it white.
OR... put on that ugly Christmas sweater.
Wool is great for summer hiking...
Apparently so is velvet. Black lacy velvet dresses in May... believe it.
See what I mean? And pantyhose.
How bout those patent leather ballet flats?
Those definitely scream hiking.
Now for those who think it would be crazy to dress this warmly on a sunny, 80-degree day hiking up the side of a mountain, here's an option for you:
Wear as little as possible. Bonus: You might get offered a job at a nightclub.
(PS that is a dress, not a romper).
So I totally get the hats. It's sunny. What's up with hiking in ballet flats, world?
Make no mistake, that's even a bit of a platform on the heel of Little Bo Peep.
(I actually love her hat... that's why I took this picture. If I could go back 20 years I would totally wear it. Or if I go to Japan one more time before I leave. Or Tumon.).
Forget the platforms. I'll just wear heels.
Maybe it doesn't matter what you wear.
You're climbing the Great Wall of China! Who cares!
Now these guys had it together! I made it to the top of the Great Wall of China with Tanzania. They came prepared to proudly display their country's flag. I had a blast with these guys at the top. (Sidenote: It was amazing to see the correlation between people who wore athletic shoes and people who made it to the top. Weird! Equally amazing was that lacy velvet dress girl made it up in her rubber slippers!).
Make sure to read and obey all of the signs.
And here's my favorite.... oh Engrish, how I love thee.
Get a lock engraved with your name and put it on the chain. Tuck the key away and know that a piece of you will remain forever on the Great Wall of China.
Leave in awe and wonder about this amazing place, one small stretch of 5,000 miles that brings the world together. Maybe next time this ol' American will dress up for such an occasion as this. I might even put on my dancing shoes :)