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Christmas 2018 brought a great opportunity; my husband had an eight day trip to Beijing and our family managed to go with him.
For the entire trip, clear air swept in from the Mongolian steppes to the northwest, bringing cold sunshine. Beijing had also closed the coal burning power plants that had brought the notorious winter smogs that previously plagued the Chinese capital.
I don’t think we wasted a minute there; organising trips to see Beijing’s sights such as the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, as well as the modern wonders like the Silk and Pearl Markets.
The highlight of the trip for me was seeing the Great Wall, which lies about an hour’s drive north of the city. We got up bright and early and were the first visitors onto the wall that morning. We were treated to some wonderful scenes as the frost first melted and rose into mist which then cleared to clear blue vistas.
The wall itself is quite treacherous in these conditions with its steep stone paths worn smooth and now covered in ice. We had to proceed with real caution as we tackled the steeper parts.
The final treat was an optional toboggan ride from the highest part of the wall down to civilisation below. We opted in!
With this photograph I have tried to use one of the gatehouses to show a leading line that extends for miles, meandering with the topography in a way that can only say ‘Great Wall’.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor