Steep steps and slippery stones to climb the Great Wall of China.
We caught one of the last trains for the notoriously-touristed-section of the Great Wall at Badaling. And yet, upon our arrival, there was nobody there. We were two of three people walking on the wall at sundown. Wishing we had brought our sleeping bags and food, as we could have easily camped-out right there on the wall.
When we reached the highest point of our walk, before the sunlight had completely departed the hazy skies of Beijing, we each took turns pulling air from our lungs - to let out the loudest yells we could muster. Watching the last light of day slither and guide our eyes up over the rolling mountains, as it reflected off the grey stones, I was caught by the experience, and removed from any reminders of modern times, and placed in a space of personal and historical contemplation.
We left Beijing for the southern Province of Guangxi, where we spent two weeks in Yangshuo. In Yangshuo, we volunteered at Zhuoyue English College, helping students practice conversational English - four nights a week, two hours each night. With such an open schedule we spent a lot of the time getting lost, cycling through the winding roads of Lijang River Valley, and climbing the beautiful karst cliffs.