Picture behind the story #5 The Great Wall of Silence!

Great Wall of China in winter snow

A personal PhotoChallenge matching a story to a photo every day for 30 days with short tales of travel, mountaineering, Nepal, art, and a few personal ones too!

5. The Great Wall of Silence!

There are very few personal travel bucket lists that don’t include The Great Wall of China and we ticked it off in 2013 on a 10 day package trip that took us to Shanghai, Beijing and Xian. It was January, very cold, and not surprisingly the landscape around the wall was covered in snow and the wall path was very icy making it difficult to walk on. Interestingly our guide on this stretch of the holiday was a woman who had survived the purges of the Cultural Revolution under Mao. She had photos of herself dressed in khaki trousers, jacket and cap and holding “the little red book”. She told us her parents, both surgeons, were sent to an agricultural labour camp to work in the fields with no concern from officials or guards that they were medical professionals who could better serve their country as doctors. Beyond that she flatly refused to discuss what happened to them or her thoughts about that period of her life. The same was true of our guides in Shanghai and in Xian (for the Teracotta Army) both of whom had a deep reluctance to discuss politics or their economy. It was a very strange experience to spend time with ordinary people who wouldn’t discuss anything about their past or their country’s history or politics.

The Great Wall of China in winter snow


12 thoughts on “Picture behind the story #5 The Great Wall of Silence!

        1. You will see in some of my later posts in this series some of my mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas where I have been in snow and ice at -20, but wearing the proper clothing. In Beijing Forbidden City we were in -10 fog but only in sweaters and winter overcoats and I have never been so cold in my life!

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    1. I believe that’s the case, but as you can see it was VERY quiet mid January, not surprising as the temperature got as low as -5! It was quite deserted until a horde of Mongolians (seriously!) arrived, teenage school kids taking selfies and calling themselves the daughters etc of Genghis Khan!

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    1. Thank you, it keeps me on my toes! I’m thinking of running a weekly photochallenge for others to join in when the month ends, a weekly topic trigger that’s very practical rather than esoteric.. Would you join in?

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