In Shanxi Province in 2005, Chinese archaeologists discovered what they believe is the world’s oldest observatory, dating back some 4,100 years. In this International Year of Astronomy we continue to wonder about our place in the Universe, and if you can really see the Great Wall from the moon, then Intrepid’s Rachel Wasser wonders who is looking at who…
“One of the major highlights of any trip to China is the Great Wall. Having been to six different sections at various times of the year, I like to consider myself somewhat of an expert. I have to say, the best way to see it is a four-hour hike along the Gubeikou to Jinshanling section. I have done the hike twice and there’s just nothing like it!
It’s an amazing feeling to be marching along and scrambling up one of the least-renovated sections of the Great Wall. I give a wave to the heavens, because if you can spot this Wall from the moon, then I wonder who else is watching. When the weather is clear you can see the wall snaking around and over the mountains all the way into the distance. You are almost totally alone up there on one of man’s most enduring creations. Being away from hoards of tourists is quite a feat when it comes to the Great Wall – in sections such as Badaling it’s usually littered with people selling t-shirts and water and so many others wandering around with the same awe-struck expressions on their faces.
The hike starts with a three-hour bus journey from Beijing and a twenty minute climb straight up onto the Wall. From there you can see for miles and we get to walk along the Wall, climb the towers and peak over the edge. We spend about a third of the hike tramping through farm land and getting a different view of the Great Wall, before climbing back up to have lunch in one of the old towers. From there we start to see Jinshanling approaching and it’s nearly time to rest our weary legs. Spending that time out in the fresh air with your group and your guide is one of the great highlights of the trip!”