Travel books do not capture the grandness of The Great Wall of China.
After climbing to 20 towers in 3 hours...my legs begged no more towers, no more stairs, no more steps.
I wanted to see the wall in the rough...chose the section Jinshanling where most of the wall is still in original condition.
Now to choose a tour group...
I didn't want a big tour bus or a tour company that included the forced stops at factory shops...I had read many horror stories.
I stumbled on a comment in a virtual tourist site that praised a small tour from a Beijing hostel,
" Peking Downtown Backpackers".
Turned out to be a gem of a find!!
Little more than a dozen interesting travelers from all over the world...like me, interested in an adventure rather than a touristy moment.
After a 3 hour van ride from Beijing...a strong wind greeted us (notice the blown hair).
There were frequent patches of snow still remaining along the wall, reminding us to step carefully.
The view from inside the towers gave you reason to pause, take a breather, and enjoy the beauty.
The wall followed the mountains....sometimes straight up!
I received my wish...unrestored and original.
Finding a safe place for the next step was not always easy.
A place like no other!