He was short and wiry and wrinkled, wearing loose clothes and a cloth cap. He looked like a peasant grandfather, the kindly type who smile a lot. As it turned out, Mr Zhao was nothing like I initially assumed.
Yumen Scenic Area is in the desert about 90km (55mi) northwest of Dunhuang and was my favourite spot in the area. The remnants of wall still visible are over 2,000 years old; I was astounded by how much remains after centuries of erosion.
Dunhuang is an oasis town in northwest Gansu province surrounded by deserts – Gobi to the East, Taklamakan to the West. It is also ringed by mountains – giant “megadunes”, rocky San Wei mountains, and snow-capped Qilian mountains.
Part 2 of my Great Wall Adventures spans 2006-2013 and includes Mutianyu, Badaling, Laolongtou, Zhengbeilou, Huanghuacheng, and even Yumen Pass in Gansu province. But my favourite is probably Mutianyu covered with snow!