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Chenjiapu Valley's rugged wall exceeds expectations

By Ian Callison | | Updated: 2016-07-18 10:35


Chenjiapu Valley's rugged wall exceeds expectations

Despite the majority of the Chenjiapu Valley area wall being in poor shape, there were still some long stretches of restored wall.[Photo by Ian Callison/]

The Great Wall of China is one of those things that you grow up knowing about.

So often, when China is brought up in the news or on a TV show, an image of the mighty Wall pans across the screen. The Great Wall is so inescapable that you pretty much can't grow up without having some minor fascination with it.

And yet it took me a full month of living in Beijing before I finally satiated my childhood fascination with the Wall.

Seeking a quieter, less touristy section, I avoided suggestions from guidebooks and travel sites and instead chose to spend my weekend in the remote Chenjiapu valley, which is about 70 km outside of Yanqing. This choice was equally fueled by the desire to escape busy Beijing life, and so a friend and I stayed the Great Wall Fresh homestay, a sleepy little family farm at the base of the valley.

By the time we first arrived to Chenjiapu valley, the sun had long since set. We couldn't see the surrounding mountains, let alone the wall, as the bus pulled into Yanqing. The friendly folks from Great Wall Fresh arranged a cab to pick us up from Yanqing, where they brought us back to their lovely homestay and cooked us a fresh dinner with ingredients picked straight from their garden.

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