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Photographer's Note

While staying eight days in Beijing at the start of a long journey through China in 1986, one of the places I visited was of course the medieval Great Wall a short distance north of the city.

I took a suburban bus, and then a taxi, to the most popular starting point near the capital called Badaling. After getting up on the wall I had a choice of going left or right. In one direction there was such a huge crowd that I immediately decided that my only chance of seeing anything was to go the other way, where there were relatively fewer persons.

I don't know if I missed something extremely important or spectacular by choosing the less popular direction, but I managed to see a stretch of the wall where the view wasn't entirely spoiled by the crowds and where I could occasionally walk in almost silence, just enjoying the surroundings. I walked for about half an hour before I turned back.

The main photo shows that parts of the wall, even in this touristy area, were in a bad condition. I am sure that extensive restoration work has been done since 1986. Hopefully it has been better done than in another area in northeastern China, where a few years ago almost 2 km of the wall were seriously damaged when covered with something looking like concrete. That has been described as possibly "the worst repair job ever".

Here is a larger version.

The WS will give you an idea of how steep the wall could be in some places. Already 33 years ago the Beijing area was usually very hazy.

Both photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10478 W: 533 N: 20330] (89254)
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