An abandoned fairground…Dandong

Standing on the most Northerly and least visited stretch of the Great Wall of China, I had one of those ‘Wow, look where I am moments!’ The most iconic image of China and one of the most recognised places in the world and we were here. Not only were we standing on it, but the wall was made more picturesque by being dusted with pure white snow. The experience was more special because there was almost no one else there…so few people in fact we had space for a cold picnic before a spot of Kung fu…seriously we did Kung Fu (very badly!) On the Great Wall of China.

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Our last stop on the Snow dragon trip was another epic train journey back south from Mohe, to the North Korean border at Dandong. Here the countries are again divided by a river and North Korea is so close you can spot border guards on patrol and washing up their pots and pans in the river. We headed straight for what remains of the old Sino-Korean Friendship bridge, which was “accidentally” bombed by the Americans in the Korean war and has since been left unrepaired. You can still walk to the end of the bridge, see holes where the bombs went through and stare over at North Korea seeing an eerily abandoned theme park (complete with rusted ferris wheel), and the facades of fake houses, (complete with windows) to give the illusion of prosperity.

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After sampling the local Korean BBQ we headed off to find what is surely considered one of the great wonders of the world,  the Great Wall of China. As we walked into the empty car park we were instantly awestruck by the ribbon of ancient stone snaking its way through the hills, and could do nothing but sit and stare. Eventually we snapped ourselves out of the wall based coma and climbed up to start exploring it in closer detail. Our wonderful guide Sasha was able to enlighten us on some history of the wall and supply us with facts like, it was built so 5 horsemen could walk side by side… who knew. As we made it to the highest point on our trek we looked over at North Korea in the distance and watched some distant cars hurry of in the distance (was it Kim jong-un’s car?), and wondered how we ever got so lucky… I think the photos can say a lot more than I could ever write…

North Korea beyond the wall...

North Korea beyond the wall…

After a quick wave to the huge statue of Mao who points off into the distance outside the railway station, our whistle-stop tour of the north was at an end and it was time to Head back to Beijing…

N. Korea on the left, China on the right...

N. Korea on the left, China on the right…

R&E

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