Saturday, December 8, 2018

A man's gotta eat. A man's gotta drink. A man's gotta climb mountains. And a man's gotta laugh.


Old woman:
"If we're gonna watch the news, I'll need my glasses ..."
     [Fetching 2 glasses of wine]
"That's better."

Previous funnies posted here have been migrated to  http://onemanadreaming.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Great Wall of China at Mutianyu, China


2018 September: Short walk
                             Great Wall of China at Mutianyu, Huairou, Beijing, China

Prolog
Great Wall of China at Mutianyu ... 4 arrows from left to right:
       1 Cable car top station
       2 Tower 14
       3 Tower 13
       4 Tower 12

      * * * * *       * * * * *

I am at the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu with a tourist group ... was going to be just like a tourist, take the cable car up to the Wall, take some photographs and come back down.

But when the group arrive at the cable car bottom station, to my pleasant surprise, the tour guide announces that we have free time to roam around for 1.5 hours.

Great ! Once I take the cable car up, it should give me sufficient time to explore along the Great Wall for a fair amount of distance ... so I thought.

But then, to my horror, the queue to get on the cable car is 1.5 hours long !

Yuk ! So I give up the queue. Instead, half-trot up to the Wall via the North Passage to Tower 10. Then proceed at a brisk pace to Tower 20 ... Well, I only have 1.5 hours.

As it turns out, most our group won't be back to the meeting place until 2.5 hours later. Geez ! If I know that, I would have travelled well beyond Tower 20 and experience a lot more of the Great Wall ... Damn !


Maps

Map 1)  Schematic drawing


Map 2)  OpenStreetMap
- Upper blue arrow: Cable car top station
- Lower blue arrow: Cable car bottom station
- For more information on the map, scroll forward to see map #3.


GPS tracklog file & Route

The GPX tracklog file of my walk can be downloaded from:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1q2_kkBZZg36vsti_cvgqHLPt7iiBJWBM

Map 3)  Below is the same tracklog, in brown colour, superimposed on OpenStreetMap:
- 3 blue arrows from top to bottom:
       1  Cable car top station and the end of my walk
       2  Cable car bottom station
       3  Start of my walk
- Red dot at bottom of the map: Shuttle bus top station
- 19 red arrows from top to bottom:
       1   Tower 21
       2   As far north as I'll walk
       3   Tower 20
       4   Tower 19
       5   Tower 18
       6   Tower 17
       7   Tower 16 ... for the purpose of this report, I label it as Tower 16C
       8   Tower 16 ... for the purpose of this report, I label it as Tower 16B
       9   Tower 16 too ... It is weird all 3 Towers are Tower 16 !!!  In this report, I label it as Tower 16A.
       10 Tower 15 ... More like a shelter than a Tower, nonetheless, it is called a Tower.
       11 Tower 14
       12 Tower 13
       13 Tower 12  (slightly slanting red arrow)
       14 Tower 11
       15 Tower 10
       16 Tower 9
       17 Tower 8
       18 Tower 7
       19 Tower 6


Map 4)  Contour map


Satellite image of map #3 and map #4


Summary of my route:
-  Start at cable car bottom station
-  Walk on North Passage to Tower 10
-  Walk along the Great Wall to Tower 20
-  Retrace steps to near Tower 14
-  Exit the Wall and head for cable car top station


Timeline & Distance

11:12  0.0  km  Start walking from cable car bottom station up North Passage towards Tower 10.
11:26  0.55km  At Tower 10

Take a look around

11.27  0.6  km  Leave Tower 10
11:31  0.9  km  At Tower 12
11:35  1.0  km  At Tower 13
11:39  1.15km  At Tower 14
11:42  1.25km  At Tower 15, more like a shelter than a Tower
11:46  1.45km  At Tower 16A, 1st of the 3 Towers all named as Tower 16
11:51  1.65km  At Tower 16B, 2nd of the 3 Towers all named as Tower 16
11:53  1.75km  At Tower 16C, 3rd of the 3 Towers all named as Tower 16
11:55  1.9  km  At Tower 17
11:59  2.05km  At Tower 18
12:01  2.2  km  At Tower 19

There is a minor queue in climbing up the stairs inside Tower 19.
(Need to climb to the upper level to continue on to Tower 20.)

12:03  2.2  km  Leave Tower 19
12:11  2.4  km  At Tower 20

12:13  2.4  km  Leave Tower 20
12:15  2.45km  At as far beyond Tower 20 as I'm willing to go

Enjoy the scenery

12:17  2.45km  Start to retrace steps ... towards cable car station
12:20  2.5  km  Back at Tower 20

Join queue to climb down Tower 20

12:27  2.5  km  Start to climb down the stairs of Tower 20
12:28  2.5  km  At the bottom of the stairs of Tower 20
12:41  3.7  km  Leave Great Wall near Tower 14, heading towards cable car top station.
12:43  3.75km  Join queue to get on cable car.

==============================================

Total:  1 hr 31 mins
           3.75 km  Distance is from Google Earth based on an idealised plot of my path.


Pictures - Mutianyu (慕田峪)

1)  All cars/buses stop here at Mutianyu (慕田峪) in Huairou District of Beijing.
To proceed further to the Great Wall, one needs to take a shuttle bus which is a short walk from here.
- Red oval: The words are: The Great Wall Culture Exhibition Center.


2)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
Plaza at The Great Wall Culture Exhibition Center at Mutianyu


3)  A looong queue at the toilet ~~~
- Tall guy in orange t-shirt: Richard
- What you see here is only the tip of an iceberg  :-)   The queue stretches much further to the right !
(A few buses have just arrived and this is the first toilet to greet the tourists. There are other toilets further in that are not crowded.)


4)  From The Great Wall Culture Exhibition Center (photos #1 and #2), there is a short walk through souvenir shops to the shuttle bus bottom station.  (Shuttle buses are required to reach the Great Wall.)
- 3 red arrows from left to right:
       1 Tower 21 (In the pic, Tower 20 is just a teeny-weeny bit below it.)
       2 Tower 14 (In the pic, cable car top station is there too ... in the same line of sight.)
       3 Tower 10
- Yellow dots: North Passage, a footpath to Tower 10
- I'll walk up the North Passage to Tower 10, then proceed to somewhere between Towers 20 & 21.
- I can see 7 people in our tour group:
       • 2 ladies immediately in front of me, from left to right: Angela, Etti
       • 5 people in the next row, from left to Right:
            1 Elara
            2 Andrew holding his baby Arthur
            3 Dylan
            4 Alison
            5 Ann‐Louise (only her head is visible)


Shuttle bus bottom station at Mutianyu

5)  Shuttle bus bottom station ~~~
There is a long queue.


6)  A looong queue to get on the shuttle bus. The queue extends beyond the bottom-right-hand corner of this pic and to photo #5.
Fortunately the buses come along straight away, one after another. And so the queue moves along quite quickly.


Shuttle bus top station

7)  Shuttle bus top station ~~~
- This is where we get off the bus and start the walk to cable car bottom station for the ride to the Great Wall. (Refer to photo #8 for the walk to the cable car.)
- There is a queue for the shuttle bus returning to Mutianyu town centre. The queue extends far beyond the right edge of this pic ... see photo #8. Fortunately there are many shuttle buses, one after another. And so the queue moves along quite quickly.


8)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- The queue to the shuttle bus extends as far back as the eyes can see  :-)
- Yellow arrow: The way to cable car bottom station, not too far away. We are going there now.
Time now 10:50am
Our tour guide, David, instructs us to meet back around here at 12:30pm. That should give me enough time to explore a large part of the Wall, so I thought  :-)  ...


Cable car bottom station

... But I haven't counted on the "queue" factor.

9)  Time now 11:00am
The cable car bottom station is not here at this gate. It is much further behind the gate. But already, there is a looong queue. This is the bottle neck to see the Great Wall ... it is 1.5 hours wait in the queue to get on the cable car !
- Red arrow: Our tour guide, David ... the guy who said meet at 12:30pm at where photo #8 was taken
                     Haha! A huge underestimate of the time ... How can a tour guide misjudge the timing so wrong. I'm amazed.
                     Refer to the write up between photos #75 and #76.
- The 5 people David is talking to, from left to right:
       1 Dylan
       2 Alison
       3 Alfred
       4 Isabelle (Alfred & Nina's daughter)
       5 Nina with a backpack


Time now 11:12am
I decide to leave the queue.

Instead of taking the cable car, I figure that:
- I can run (haha ... see photo #11) up a footpath called North Passage to Tower 10 of the Great Wall.
- Then a brisk walk along the Wall to Tower 20 ... most tourists would not go beyond Tower 20.
- Then run back to the cable car top station near Tower 14.

With luck, 1.5 hours later, I may just meet up at the top station with the others who choose to ride the cable car up ... they have 1.5 hours' of wait in the queue  :-)


10)  Near the trailhead of North Passage, looking down at the cable car bottom station and its queue ~~~
- The queue you can see here is only the tip of an iceberg. The rest stretches far beyond the left edge of this pic.


Stairs of North Passage

11)  Unbeknownst to me, the entire path of the North Passage is just like this - stairs.  There is hardly any flat area for a respite. So my idea of a run to the Wall becomes a half trot  :-)


12)  A millipede ... quite a few of them on the stairs and on the Great Wall


Tower 10 of the Great Wall

13)  Reaching Tower 10 in less than a quarter of an hour ... a pretty good effort trotting up all those stairs !


14)  Inside the Tower ~~~
Note the white board provided for graffiti on the left side of the pic ... Most of the Towers have one or two of these white boards, quite a good idea.


Time now 11:26am
I now have about an hour to reach Tower 20 and back to Tower 14 where the cable car top station is located.

Let's see what I can do  :-)


Between Tower 10 & Tower 11

I am now between Tower 10 and Tower 11.

15)  Tower 11 ~~~
Tower 11 branches out from the Great Wall on its own.  There maybe a path to it, but I am in a hurry and may have missed the path.


16)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic ... To enlarge the image, click on it.)
- The previous pic and this one form a 180-degree panorama.
- The view here is from east to south.
- Left red arrow: Tower 11
- Right red arrow: Tower 10
- Right half of the pic: The Wall extends southward, towards Tower 9, Tower 8 ... etc ... to Tower 1 at Dajiaolou (Great Corner Tower). I am not going there. I am going in the opposite direction.


Between Tower 11 & Tower 12

17)  Scenery towards east ~~~
- White arrow: The town of Lianhuachicun (莲花池村)
- Wonder what is the name of the peak in the middle of the pic above the town?  Can someone please let me know?
  The same peak is featured photo #15 above Tower 11.
- Lower pic: Zooming into the middle part of the upper pic


18)  Facing backward ... towards south ~~~
- White rectangle: Cable car station near Tower 6 (not the one I'll ride down later on)
- Short white arrow: Tower 10 ... I was there not too long ago.


19)  Facing forward ... north-ish ~~~
- Red arrow: Cable car top station
- Red oval: 3 Towers from top to bottom: Tower 14, Tower 13, Tower 12


20)  Between Tower 11 and Tower 12 is this open platform.


Tower 12

21)  Close to Tower 12 now ~~~
- 4 red arrows from left to right:
       1 Cable car top station
       2 Tower 14
       3 Tower 13
       4 Tower 12


Between Tower 12 & Tower 13

I have passed Tower 12.

22)  (To enlarge the image, click on it.)
This pic plus photos #23 to #25, form a 360-degree panorama.
- White arrows: The town of Lianhuachicun (莲花池村), east-ish


23)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
Looking back at Tower 12


24)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic ... To enlarge the image, click on it.)
- White arrow: Mutianyu ... towards south-south-west-ish
                       The Great Wall Culture Exhibition Center and shuttle bus bottom station are there. (Photos #1 to #5)


25)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Centred toward north-north-west-ish
- 2 red arrows from left to right: Cable car top station, Tower 13
- Continuation to the right of this pic is photo #22, thus completing a 360-degree panorama.


Tower 13

26)  Walking towards Tower 13


27)  Narrow stairs to Tower 13


28)  Inside Tower 13 ~~~~
- Left pic, yellow arrow: Turn into the yellow arrow and you'll be in the right pic.


Between Tower 13 & Tower 14

I have passed Tower 13.

29)  Looking back at where I came from:
- Upper pic: Towards south-ish
       • Yellow arrow: Path I took to the Wall (Actually, the path is in the valley; can't be seen from where I'm standing now.)
- Lower pic: Zooming into the middle of the upper pic:
       • Yellow arrow: Path I took to the Wall (Actually, the path is in the valley; can't be seen from where I'm standing now.)
       • 3 white arrows at top of pic, from left to right:
            1 Tower 7
            2 Tower 6
            3 Cable car station (not the one I'll ride down later on)
       • 4 white arrows in middle, from left to right:
            1 Tower 11
            2 Tower 8
            3 Tower 10 ... The 1st Tower I reached after climbing up the yellow arrow to the Great Wall.
            4 Open platform ... see photo #20.
       • 2 white arrows near bottom, from left to right:
            1 Tower 13
            2 Roof of Tower 12


30)  (Continuation to the right of photo #29)
- Upper pic: Mutianyu ... The Great Wall Culture Exhibition Center & Shuttle bus bottom station are there, photos #1 to 5.
- Middle pic:
       • Yellow arrow: Path I took to the Wall (Actually, the path is in the valley; can't be seen from where I'm standing now.)
       • 4 white arrows from left to right:
            1 Tower 10 ... The 1st Tower I reached after climbing up the yellow arrow to the Great Wall.
            2 Cable car station near Tower 6 (not the one I'll ride down later on)
            3 Cable car lower station (Later on, I'll take the cable car near Tower 14. It'll get me down there.)
            4 Mutianyu ... The Great Wall Culture Exhibition Center & Shuttle bus bottom station are there, photos #1 to #5.
- Lower pic:  Zooming into the centre of the middle pic:
       • White arrow: Cable car lower station (I'll be down there later on.)
       • Yellow dotted line: Shuttle bus upper station is under the trees there.


31)  This pic is similar to photo #29.
- I'm higher up now and almost at Tower 14.
- Yellow arrow: Path I took to the Wall (Actually, the path is in the valley; can't be seen from where I'm standing now.)
- 4 White arrows from top to bottom:
       1 Cable car station near Tower 6 (not the one I'll ride down later on)
       2 Tower 10 ... The 1st Tower I reached after climbing up the yellow arrow to the Great Wall.
       3 Tower 11
       4 Roof of Tower 12


Tower 14

32)  Tower 14 ~~~
- Upper pic: About to climb up Tower 14 (The previous was taken at exactly the same spot where this pic is taken.)
- Lower pic: The other side of Tower 14 after passing through it.


Tower 15

33)  Tower 14 is on top of a hill. And so once you are over it, a whole new vista towards north opens up to you.
- Directly in front, what looks like a shelter is Tower 15, a short distance away from Tower 14.
- Red arrow: The words on the slope are: 忠于毛主席 (Loyalty to Chairman Mao)
- 3 horizontal white arrows from top to bottom:
       1 Tower 21
       2 Tower 20 ... Most tourists stop there. Later on, I'll reach halfway between Tower 20 and Tower 21.
       3 Tower 19
- Vertical white arrow: Tower 16A
                                    Between Towers 15 and 17, there are 3 Towers all named as Tower 16, very weird.
                                    To distinguish them from one another, I label this one as Tower 16A.


34)  Having passed through Tower 15, now going down its stairs, heading towards Tower 16A


Tower 16A

35)  The next 3 Towers after Tower 15 are all named as Tower 16, very weird !
To distinguish them apart, I label the one in this pic as Tower 16A. The next two will be Towers 16B and 16C.


Between Tower 16A & Tower 16B

36)  I have passed Tower 16A, now facing the direction I'll be heading.
- Upper pic:
       • Red arrow: Tower 21
       • 2 white arrows from top to bottom:
            1 Tower 20 ... Most tourists stop there. Later on, I'll reach halfway between Towers 20 and 21.
            2 Tower 19
       • White rectangle: Lower pic zooms into this area
- Lower pic:
       • 4 white arrows from left to right:
            1 Tower 17
            2 Tower 18
            3 Tower 16B
            4 Tower 19
       • Tower 16C is behind Tower 16B and hence can't be seen from where I'm standing now.


37)  Scenery centred towards west-ish (To enlarge the image, click on it.)
- This pic plus photos #38 to #40, form a 360-degree panorama.
- Red oval: Mutianyu ... towards south-south-west-ish
                  The Great Wall Culture Exhibition Center and shuttle bus bottom station are there. (Photos #1 to #5)


38)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Upper pic: Walking towards Tower 16B
       • Red arrow: Tower 21
       • 5 white arrows from left to right
            1 Tower 17
            2 Tower 18
            3 Tower 20 ... Most tourists stop there. Later on, I'll reach halfway between Towers 20 and 21.
            4 Tower 19
            5 Tower 16B
- Lower pic: Zooming into middle part of the upper pic
       • 4 white arrows from left to right:
            1 Tower 17
            2 Tower 18
            3 Tower 19
            4 Tower 16B


39)  (Continuation to the right of photo #38 ... To enlarge the image, click on it.)
Scenery centred towards east-ish:
- Red arrow: Same peak as the one in photos #15, #17 and #22. If you know its name, please let me know.


40)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
Looking back at where I came from:
- Red rectangle: The lower pic zooms into this area.
- 3 red arrows from left to right: Towers 14, 15, 16A
- Continuation to the right of this pic is photo #37, thus completing a 360-degree panorama.


Tower 16C

41)  Now walking towards Tower 16C ~~~
- The 2 pics below are of the same scene.
- Red arrow: Tower 21
- 5 white arrows from top to bottom:
       1 Tower 20 ... Most tourists stop there. Later on, I'll reach halfway between Towers 20 and 21.
       2 Tower 19
       3 Tower 18
       4 Tower 17
       5 Tower 16C
- In some Towers, like this one, Tower 16C, there are people on the top floor. I can't figure out how did they reach there? I can't find any stairs, internally or externally !


42)  From Tower 16C, looking towards where I'll be going ~~~
- Red arrow: Tower 21
- 4 white arrows from top to bottom:
       1 Tower 20 ... Most tourists stop there. Later on, I'll reach halfway between Towers 20 and 21.
       2 Tower 19
       3 Tower 18
       4 Tower 17


43)  The 2 pics below are both facing backwards, towards Towers 16C (left arrow), and 16B (right arrow)


Tower 17

44)  About to enter Tower 17 ~~~
- 2 white arrows from top to bottom: Tower 20 & Tower 19


45)  Having passed Tower 17, now looking back at it.
- Upper pic: Tower 17
- Lower pic:
       • 4 red arrows from left to right:
            1 Tower 17
            2 Tower 16B
            3 Tower 14
            4 Tower 16A


46)  From the steps leading down Tower 17, looking towards where I'm heading next:
- Red arrow: Tower 21
- 3 white arrows from left to right:
       1 Tower 18
       2 Tower 20 ... Most tourists stop there. Later on, I'll reach halfway between Towers 20 and 21.
       3 Tower 19


To Tower 18

47)  At about halfway between Towers 17 and 18 ~~~
- 2 red arrows from left to right: Towers 21 and 20
- We can't see Towers 18 and 19 from this spot.


Tower 18

48)  About to enter Tower 18 ~~~
- 2 red arrows from left to right: Towers 21 and 20


49)  Inside Tower 18 ... one of its windows


To Tower 19

50)  Having passed Tower 18, the next 2 Towers are: Tower 19 (white arrow) and Tower 20 (red arrow).


Tower 19

51)  Approaching Tower 19


52)  Tower 19 is different from others in that to proceed to the next Tower, you need to climb up an internal staircase to the upper level.


53)  Upper level of Tower 19 ~~~
- In the middle of the pic is the access to the internal staircase ... refer to the previous pic.
- Continuation to the left of this pic is photo #54.


Between Tower 19 and Tower 20

The steepest part of the Great Wall is here, between Tower 19 and Tower 20 ... stairs all the way !

54)  The stairs to Tower 20 ~~~
- Tower 20 is at the top of the pic.
- Upper pic: Continuation to the left of the previous pic.


55)  The stairs to Tower 20


56)  Looking back at the Great Wall from the stairs (To enlarge the image, click on it.)
- Red arrow: Tower 14
- Red oval: Mutianyu ... towards south-south-west-ish
                  The Great Wall Culture Exhibition Center and shuttle bus bottom station are there. (Photos #1 to #5)
- 4 white arrows from top to bottom:
       1 Tower 16C
       2 Tower 17
       3 Tower 18
       4 Tower 19
- 2 white dots from left to right:
       1 Cable car top station
       2 Cable car bottom station is in that direction. It can't be seen from here, blocked by the mountain range.


57)  This is the left part of previous pic.
- Tower 19 is at the centre of this pic.


58)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Red oval: Mutianyu ... towards south-south-west-ish
                  The Great Wall Culture Exhibition Center and shuttle bus bottom station are there. (Photos #1 to #5)
- 4 white arrows from top to bottom:
       1 Tower 16C
       2 Tower 17
       3 Tower 18
       4 Tower 19
- 2 white dots from left to right:
       1 Cable car top station
       2 Cable car bottom station is in that direction. It can't be seen from here, blocked by the mountain range.


59)  Why are these people sitting in a row like this? Perhaps they are in a group tour and taking a rest?


Tower 20

60)  The final climb to Tower 20 ... It is very steep !


61)  Probably the steepest stairs I've ever seen anywhere.


62)  From Tower 20, looking down the steep stairs


63)  From Tower 20, looking back at where I came from ~~~
- White dot: Cable car bottom station is in that direction. It can't be seen from here, blocked by the mountain range.
- 3 white arrows in the larger red rectangle, from left to right:
       1 Tower 14
       2 Tower 15
       3 Cable car top station
- 4 white arrows in the main pic, from top to bottom:
       1 Tower 16C
       2 Tower 17
       3 Tower 18
       4 Tower 19


64)  At the platform of Tower 20 ~~~
Most tourists stop here and go no further.  Reason is given in the write up to photo #71.
- Red arrow: The stairs to get on/off Tower 20 is somewhere down there.
- Red oval: All the people there are in a queue to get off Tower 20. As the platform is quite small for the size of the crowd, the queue is in a spiral form ... see photo #71


Between Tower 20 and Tower 21

65)  I've passed Tower 20. I won't reach Tower 21. The furthest I'll go is about halfway to the top of the crest in this pic.


66)  Looking back at where I came from ~~~
- White dot: Cable car bottom station is in that direction. It can't be seen from here, blocked by the mountain range.
- 3 white arrows at the top of the pic, from left to right:
       1 Tower 14
       2 Tower 15
       3 Cable car top station
- Next 3 white arrows (below the red rectangles), from top to bottom:
       1 Tower 16A
       2 Tower 16B
       3 Tower 16C


Returning to Tower 20

Time now 12:15pm
Time to turn around ... as instruction from the tour guide was to meet up near the cable car bottom stations at 12:30pm.

Well, I won't be there on time.

But if I run back down along the Towers now, I may reach the top station around 12:30pm. I figured the people in our group who queued up for the cable car won't reach the top station till then ... And I may meet some of them there. But ...

67)  ... But, first, enjoy the scenery and take some more photographs before I re-enter Tower 20.
- This scene is towards east.


68)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic) Towards south-east-ish ~~~
- 5 white arrows in the larger red rectangle, from left to right:
       1 Tower 14
       2 Tower 15
       3 Tower 16B
       4 Tower 16A
       5 Cable car top station
- 4 white arrows in the main pic, from top to bottom:
       1 Cable car top station
       2 Tower 16C
       3 Tower 17
       4 Tower 18
- White dot: Cable car bottom station is in that direction. It can't be seen from here, blocked by the mountain range.
- Tower 20 is the main feature near the bottom of the pic.


69)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic) ~~~
- Red oval: Mutianyu ... towards south-south-west-ish
                  The Great Wall Culture Exhibition Center and shuttle bus bottom station are there. (Photos #1 to #5)
- White dot: Cable car bottom station is in that direction. It can't be seen from here, blocked by the mountain range.
- 2 white arrows, from top to bottom:
       1 Tower 17
       2 Tower 18


70)  Me  :-)
- Red oval: Mutianyu ... towards south-south-west-ish
                  The Great Wall Culture Exhibition Center and shuttle bus bottom station are there. (Photos #1 to #5)
- White dot: Cable car bottom station is in that direction. It can't be seen from here, blocked by the mountain range.
- 3 white arrows, from top to bottom:
       1 Cable car top station
       2 Tower 16C
       3 Tower 17


71)  About to re-enter Tower 20 ~~~
- 3 yellow arrows from top to bottom: Towers 16C, 17 and 18
- Red arrow: The stairs to climb down Tower 20 is under the arrow ... Refer to photos #60 to #63.
- Turquoise dots: The queue to get down the stairs, in the form of a spiral ... It is moving very slowly.
                            (The stairs are very steep. People climb down it slower than snails, hence the slow moving queue.)
- White rectangle: I will jump the queue; will push in behind the mother and girl  :-)  More on this later on.
- Red oval: The entrance is sealed ... I don't know why, as the path to Tower 21 is in superb condition.
                  The sign says "Scenic spots, travel ban".
                  A better translation is "Scenic area. Do not walk through".
                  Given the superb condition of the path, it is probably an old sign that should have been removed.
- Blue oval & arrows: To go between Towers 20 & 21, jump over the wall as the girl in yellow hat is doing right now.
                                  Then scramble along the blue arrows.
                                  As it is not easy to do so, most tourists turn around there, hence Tower 20 is crowded.
- Lower pic, blue oval: People getting over the wall to leave/enter Tower 20.


Queueing up at Tower 20

Time now 12:20pm
Back at Tower 20

As explained in the previous pic, there is a queue waiting to climb down Tower 20, and it is moving very slowly.
If I join the queue at its tail, there will be a 15-minute wait. But I'm aiming to reach the cable car top station at 12:30pm ... hhmmm ... what to do?

So I pretend to be unaware of the existence of the queue and push in behind the mother and daughter who are pictured in the white rectangle in the previous pic. Fortunately the guys queueing behind them are not complaining. If you are the guys and you are reading this blog, apologies, and thank you very much !

72)  The crowd in Tower 20 ~~~
- Upper pic
       • White oval: Mother and daughter ... I push in behind them  :-)
       • Red arrow: The stairs to climb down Tower 20 is under the arrow.
- Lower pic: (Continuation to the right of the upper pic)
       • Turquoise arrows: The queue in a spiral form
A minute later, a young couple try to slip in front of the mother and daughter. The mother promptly tells them to go to the back of the queue. Wow, lucky I didn't push in in front of her !


To cable car top station

Time now 12:28pm
At the bottom of the stairs of Tower 20

Ok, I have 2 minutes to meet my target of 12:30pm at the cable car top station  :-)  Well, a bit of running is required  :-)   Distance to the top statation is 1.25km. Do you think I can run 1.25km in 2 minutes ?

Around here, 2 young guys and a young lady also start to run along the wall too. They have the same issue as me ... need to meet their tour group somewhere !  We run together towards Tower 19.

There is a minor queue to climb down the stairs of Tower 19 ... see photo #52. We were together at the queue. Fortunately the queue is no where as bad as the one at Tower 20.

After Tower 19, I run ahead of them and don't see them anymore  :-)


73)  Time now 12:41pm
At the exit to cable car top station ~~~
- Orange sign: The words are "Cable Car Entrance"
- Yellow arrow: Direction to Tower 14, not far away (But I turn right into the doorway.)
If not for the 8-minute delay queueing up and climb down Tower 20, and a minor delay queueing to climb down Tower 19, I reckon I could have been here at 12:30pm  :-)


You have to admire my perfect sense of timing. I had figured by the time I've done all the walking, and by the time I reach the cable car top station, I would meet up with those who waited for 1.5 hours to ride up in the cable car and took a short walk to see the Great Wall ...

74)  Time now 12:42pm
... Well, a minute after I left the Wall in the previous pic, I meet up with these 2 sisters, Etti & Philomena, who came up by cable car  :-)  So, together, we make our way to the top station.


Cable car top station

75)  Fortunately the queue to ride down the cable car is not long.
- Philomena is sitting by the door of the cable car and facing us.
- Herein lies the problem with the looong queue to ride up the cable car in photos #9 and #10 ... Each car can only accommodate 6 people. That is not large enough. Why didn't they build the car with capacity for 20+ people ???


By the time I reach our tour group's meeting place around photo #8, it is 1:04pm, well outside the nominated time of 12:30pm. But I'm one of the early ones.

There are others who queued to ride the cable car up to the Wall, then chose to walk down. They won't be back here till 1:35pm.

And so, one really have to question the experience and judgment of our tour guide. He should have known it would take us this long to meet up again. And he should have announced the meeting time to be 1:30pm (instead of 12:30pm). In that case I'll have more time to roam around the Wall.

I would love to reach the area above the words 忠于毛主席 (Loyalty to Chairman Mao) ... see photo #77. With the extra time, I could have done it. Ah, well, one can only curse the tour guide !


Lunch at Mutianyu

76)  Lunch is at Caspar King, a restaurant in Mutianyu (somewhere in the street in photo #4).
- Etti is walking into the restaurant.


77)  From the balcony of the restaurant is this marvellous view of the Great Wall I've just walked ... in particular, see photo #78.
- The town of Mutianyu is in the foreground.
- 3 red arrows from left to right:
       1 Words below the arrow: 忠于毛主席 (Loyalty to Chairman Mao) ... I would have loved to walk to around there.
       2 Tower 21
       3 Tower 14 and cable car top station


78)  Zooming into the right side of previous pic (To enlarge the image, click on it.) ~~~
- Upper left corner: The words on the slope are: 忠于毛主席 (Loyalty to Chairman Mao)
- 14 red arrows from left to right:
        1 Tower 21
        2 I reached this point before turning back
        3 Tower 20
        4 Tower 18 ... The path appears to be retrograde.
        5 Tower 19 ... The path appears to be retrograde.
        6 Tower 17
        7 Tower 16C
        8 Tower 16B
        9 Tower 16A
       10 Tower 15
       11 Tower 14 and Cable car top station ... Both are in the same line of sight.
       12 Tower 13
       13 Tower 12
       14 Tower 10
- Turquoise arrow on the right edge: Approximate route of North Passage to Tower 10
It is most satisfying to be able to see every single Tower I have visited !  The above picture made my day !


Comment

A runner in full running attire ran pass me near Tower 12.

Otherwise, I was the fastest tourist to walk up the North Passage to Tower 10, then to Tower 20 and back  :-)   There was no one close to my speed  :-)

Nonetheless, I took sufficient photographs to produce this trip report.

Even though out there on the Internet, there are plenty of photographs of the Great Wall and its Towers; but you'll be hard-pressed to find an association between a Tower and its name. And so, whenever you come across a photograph of a Tower, you wouldn't know which Tower is it.

Well, in this trip report, I've noted down the names of the Towers in each photograph. Hope you'll find the annotations useful in trying to identify which Tower is which.