ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Short travel post number one -- China, the Great Wall -- and a few bonus photos.

Several of you asked for more pics of my trip to China and I'm happy to oblige. Today I'm starting with a few outtakes from travel articles I've written since returning home. I'll start my first 'proper' China post back at the Great Wall after a little detour.

If you'd rather read/comment on my Word Press blog, go here...

TRAVEL 'FIRSTS'


Travellers the world over share the heady anticipation of ‘firsts’—the first time they see Rocamadour, (the town of the Black Madonna and foie gras) built into the cliff face not far from Bordeaux in France, the first time they make it to Everest Main Camp, the first time they make a pilgrimage to Machu Picchu.

Glorious Rocamadour didn't disappoint!


Yet some ‘firsts’ can be disappointing. Think about this...As I entered the hallowed halls of the Vatican to gaze upon Michelangelo’s painted ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, a much-anticipated 'first', it was not the ceiling but the floor that dominated the scene—wall to wall tourists lying on their backs pointing cameras with lenses as long as their arms to the ceiling while nattily-dressed security guards danced over the inert bodies screaming, ‘No photo! No photo!’



But my last ‘first’ exploded every expectation I’d held since I saw newspaper photos of President Nixon and Mao Zedong on the Great Wall of China in the '70s—my own ‘first’ visit to the Great Wall, the foremost example of ancient architecture on the planet.


What I dubbed Base Camp at the Juyong Pass Great Wall section.
After climbing the wall, it was good to mosey around here while the thighs tried to stop wobbling.





Getting ready to rock! That mountain top looks a long way away!





Heading for the watchtower at the top of the mountain. Those stairs were full-on killers. We’re all giddily happy to be climbing the wall. Some tell me it was a long-cherished dream, impossible to fulfill when China was closed to foreigners, (wàiguó rén, or ‘big noses’).




This wall is mighty steep and goes forever. It's a long way to the top if you want to rock 'n' roll!!




The top of the section. Sadly, I didn't make it this far, but the hubs is far more competitive than I am...of course he had to take photos for me!


  • How about you? Do you have any travel 'firsts' that never leave your mind?
Thanks for coming by.
I hope you enjoyed travelling with me.
Next post will be on Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City.



42 comments:

  1. While some of your pictures didn't come through, I love the ones I saw. You made it so much farther than I did on the Great Wall. My most memorable trips were to India where I met my husband and to China to adopt my daughter.

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    1. Sorry Natalie. I've fixed them now I think. Hope they're all visible now. India and China.Both exotic!

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  2. I had trouble with some of the photos, too but loved the ones I saw. I can't image the walk you made - amazing.

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    1. Sorry about the pics. It was a tough walk, but worth it!

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  3. I couldn't see all of the photos either. Cool the ones I could. I bet that's a great workout climbing all of those stairs.
    I still remember the first time I saw London. That was a great place to live for a couple months.

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    1. Have hopefully fixed the photo problem. Yes, seeing London for the first time was awesome. Got to house sit there a couple of times in the 'burbs. Great experience!

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  4. That is quite the hike to the top. But if you're there, you have to try.

    Sneaking photos in the church? NO, I would never do that. LOL

    My big first was standing on the bank of Loch Ness.

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    1. Loch Ness. Ah. When I stood there I was sure I was going to see the Monster! Sadly, he stayed hidden...

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  5. Like Diane wrote: if you went to all the trouble to get there, you just have to try and make that hike to the top, right?

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    1. That's right. As hard as it was, it would have been harder not to take the climb if you could!

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  6. Absolutely gorgeous photos, Denise. Going to the wall of China was a dream of a friend of mine. I don't know if I could have made that trek (I don't do mountain hikes that well - I run out of breath. . .) Two firsts that stick out in my mind (for travel) was 1) The Eiffel Tower when it first comes into view and 2) seeing Vancouver BC for the first time and saying 'this feels like home'.

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    1. I couldn't share any of the Sistine Chapel, D.G., or that would be admitting I was one of those people. But everywhere else in the Vatican you can snap away to your hearts content, strangely enough.
      Yes, I'm not sure I've ever anticipated anything so much as seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time and that surely didn't disappoint!

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  7. Forgot to say - I would have loved to have some photos of the Sistine Chapel - Michaelangelo is my all time favourite artist!! You'd think that far away from the ceiling that the photos couldn't do as much damage. . .

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  8. I'd really like to climb the Great Wall! That alone would be worth a trip to China. I look forward to seeing more pics of your trip!

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    1. Hi Karen. You will definitely see some more!

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  9. I had no idea sections like that were so steep! Photos normally don't do it justice, but you've captured it perfectly here.

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    1. Hi Ian! Well, there's thousands of kilometres, so I was lucky this was a very photogenic spot.

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  10. Reminds me a bit of when I went to Alcatraz which they told us was 8 storeys high. I was not in good shape and luckily they had benches on the way up. I don't think I could have even attempted the Great Wall and kudos to you for doing as much as you did. Lovely pictures.

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    1. Stairs kill me. The Great Wall is certainly for the fit! I don't mind admitting I struggled at times, but so worth it.

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  11. Hi Denise - what a lovely set of photos - and yes the stages in the Great Wall are helpful - also to break up the photo and give us that extra idea. Well done for getting as far as you did - but am happy hubby could get further and give us some views.

    It must be amazing to see ... Lindos on Rhodes amazed me ... we clambered up there - but nothing compared to your hike. Also I remember from my childhood days 'horrendous' hairpin bends in the Lake District - but that was childhood memories and they're not nearly as bad once I'd grown a few inches!! The view from Table Mountain .. that was a lift! Cable Car.

    Cheers - looking forward to your other stories and photos - Rocamadour looks incredible ... nearer home too! Hilary

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    1. I'm looking forward to seeing Table Mountain one day! A lift sounds good!

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  12. I have to agree Rocamadour is amazing (as are many places in France). The best holiday I have ever had was in Phuket, maybe not as amazing as other places, but the one holiday I will never forget. In June we are off for our first visit to the USA and I am so looking forward to the Grand Canyon, sure that will be amazing. I have to agree with Hilary, table mountain is a never forgotten experience as well. Herculaneum, another place that was well worth a visit.
    I can imagine the great wall is something that is a must to see, but I will appreciate your photos and enjoy the less energetic virtual tour. Thanks for sharing. Have a good week Diane

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    1. I've decided the US is so big, like Oz, that I need 6 months to see it and catch up with my blogger friends. I think it'll have to wait until i retire!
      Herculaneum and Pompeii--mind blowing. Talk about walking through history!

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  13. In the state I'm in, that would have killed me. What an amazing journey! The history. The legacy. The sweat, blood and...bodies...that went into the wall. I think I would have a hard time walking it knowing that hundreds of people were buried beneath without the honor of a grave marker or family farewell. Such crazy history...

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    1. Most countries have a crazy history Crystal, and hopefully some countries have gotten their act together...(not sure about China or many others...) I did pay homage to those buried and I have found a legend to share in one of my travel articles about a man buried in the wall and the love of his wife...

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    2. Ooh! Awesome. I can't wait to read it!

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  14. Truly amazing photos, and how exciting to have gotten as far as you did. I had no idea it meant so many steps, but traversing a mountain is never easy! While Alaska always come to mind the one view that will never leave me, was the destruction on Mt St Helen. The city built into the cliff is amazing!
    Great photos, Denise!

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  15. omgosh I'd love to see Rocamadour for myself!! Gorgeous!! And I've always wanted visited the Great Wall. You lucky thing you.

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    1. I'm sure you'll get there one day Lyn. Looking at my photos of Rocamadour I want to go back there, walk the streets and eat foie gras on baguettes again! Damn cruel to the ducks, but delish!

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  16. Absolutely. Amazing. Especially the Great Wall. Well, so YOU didn't get all the way up on your own. Good thing you have a wonderful husband. I left a reply to your comment you left on my new post yesterday, which was middle of the night for me (had insomnia). I will send you a brief email re Jen's upcoming surgery June 13th. Meanwhile, look forward to more China pictures. I suspect this will keep your blog moving for some time (Yay). I tried to find the follow me via email button here and did way down on your sidebar but it doesn't work. Also tried on your WordPress blog; will do look at the latter again. I know I'll see you whenever "I" publish a new post but I want to know when you do. Sigh. Is old age really doing me in with all this technology (I'm 76 tomorrow. Happy birthday to me, no, no, let's skip this one (laughter)

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    1. Thanks for the email info Ann. I have fixed it up and put it to the top. I hope your birthday was wonderful and the aide has worked out.

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  17. Awesome photos Denise. Loved seeing all of them!

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  18. Wow! That's a big wall *grin*

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  19. Loved seeing your pictures. It's always so interesting to see other places in the world.

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  20. Wow, what an amazing experience!! The Great Wall is as impressive as advertised!

    A big "first" for me would be visiting Teotihuacan in Mexico and climbing the Pyramid of the Sun.

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  21. Haven't been to Mexico Dianne, but it's on the list!

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  22. Superb photographs, Denise! The great wall is magnificent! You are so lucky.

    My unforgettable firsts would include the Colosseum, and the Giza pyramids. Would be amazing if someday I can add Kilimanjaro and Table Mountain to that list. :)

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    1. Yes I can remember my excitement walking towards the Collosseum. I took it slowly.

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  23. Great Wall of China is the longest wall in the world and an awe-inspiring feat of ancient defensive architecture. Really it’s a very good blog with awesome tips. Before some months I visited there with one of my friends with a well known travel agency Trekclub. Really the trip was fully adventurous for me. After seeing these images I really remembered those best moments. Keep blogging like this. Thank you.

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    1. Hi Zhen. Thank you for your visit and comments. I loved the experience of the Great Wall.

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