....coldness, bargaining, shaking, or China? The actual answer is supposed to be the latter, but for me it was the former four this time around. My second visit to the Great Wall was more memorable for the coldness, bargaining, and shaking than it was for the actual Wall itself. This is not meant to take away from the grandeur of the Wall by any means, it is an amazing sight to see the stone Wall winding down from the crests of the hills into the valleys and back up to the next peak as far as you can look through the haze.
However, I got to bask in wonderment last time I was at the Great Wall. This time, I was all too aware of how cold it was. There is a reason that Beijing means north capital - it gets really cold there, especially on Christmas Eve. The other thing on my mind as I was climbing up an infinite number of steps was how much bargaining I was going to have to use to get us back into Beijing. I had spent probably about 20 minutes earlier that day arguing mostly in Mandarin with these 2 men who wanted to drive us to the Wall. Despite all my efforts, we still ended up paying the full asking price for the roundtrip.
The final thing I remember from the Great Wall was how great my legs were shaking as we descended. It was uncontrollable. Every so often we would stop to take pictures, but I couldn't stand still very long or else my legs would just start shaking so hard that my whole jeans leg was shaking as well. I couldn't wait to get back into the car where I knew at least it would be warm.
Even though the cold, bargaining, and shaking weren't a wanted aspect of the Great Wall, I'm still glad that I got to see it again.
Looking down while climbing up. A place where you definitely don't want to fall down the stairs.
Looking up while climbing up. A whole lot more to go.