Innovation on Earth

Global Citizenship Resources for Innovation Academy and Beyond

Extraordinary Days

KapeckasYesterday, middle school students skyped with Mrs. Kapeckas! How exciting! Students got a chance to ask lots of questions, but the number one thing they asked about was… FOOD! She stayed up past midnight to Skype with us, after hiking on the Great Wall of China earlier that day. Wow! It looks like she had a much clearer day than when I went this past summer. If you want to read about my experience on the Great Wall, check out that post here. Or take a look at one of these posts to learn about food in China. And visit again soon for more entries from thousands of miles away in China!

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China 053Some days, life is ordinary- you do some errands, do laundry, and maybe watch a little TV. Hopefully, you find some small moments of joy in simple moments. Other days are simply extraordinary and you can’t quite believe the day really happened. Yesterday was one of those extraordinary days. I climbed the Great Wall of China! I don’t know what is on your personal “bucket list” of things to do in this lifetime, but being at the Great Wall of China was on mine and I was thrilled to experience hiking the wall.
China 047
The Great Wall of China is a series of walls along rugged mountains that extends 5500 miles. The first set of walls was built during the Qin Dynasty (remember the Qin Dynasty also was the same epoch of the Terra Cotta Warriors); the Qin Dynasty lasted from 221-206 BC and the wall was created to keep the Mongol invaders out of China. During different time periods, the wall was added to and repaired, with major construction happening during the Ming Dynasty (1388-1644 AD). The Ming Walls were up to 25 feet high and wide enough for marching troops or wagons. There were guard stations and watch towers placed throughout.
China 024The section of the wall we visited is north of Beijing and is known as the Mutianyu Section. We rode a cable car to the 14th tower (the same one that former President Bill Clinton rode in) and then hiked to the end of the wall- the 23rd tower. At times, it was incredibly steep (the kind in which you don’t look down, you just put one foot in front of the other). It was both exhausting and exhilarating.
Later that night, I treated myself to a foot massage at the spa across the street from our Beijing Hotel. It was a real treat after an incredible journey!
Melissa Kapeckas

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2 thoughts on “Extraordinary Days

  1. Anna S. on said:

    Great post, Ms. Kapeckas!!

    I remember when I climbed the Great Wall of China. It was tiring, but fun!! I pretty much did the same things you did. Except I don’t think I was able to climb to the very top.
    While we were there, my mom told me a little bit about the history of the Great Wall. I don’t remember a ton, but I think I remember that (similar to what you said about the guards on watch towers) if the guards saw something, they would light a small flame of fire (a torch, I think) on one of the openings on the side of the Great Wall. The fire would let the other people (not the enemies) know that their enemies were coming.

    Best Wishes on the rest of your trip!!
    😉 ~ Anna

  2. Melissa Kapeckas on said:

    I didn’t know that Anna– very interesting!

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