I have brought a large tripod along on this stretch. It is so easy to snap pictures of everything around me, but forget to take pictures of myself in the landscape. This is however time consuming and requires a great deal of patience – particularly if you are exposed to a strong and cold wind with no gloves while setting up the camera, or the wind blows the whole tripod and camera down… twice…
After the self exposure photorama, I descended into a valley that will take me all the way to the western part of Hebei. In the distance looking over the valley, I saw a statue. I automatically assumed it was a Buddha statue, but these are rare in the open and this one was slender. I took out the zoom camera and snapped a picture at 16 x zoom. Then I zoomed in on the statue on the camera. I was surprised as it looked like a Mother Mary statue.
I dumped my rucksack at the Great Wall and strode over, only to be amazed by a large marble statue of Mother Mary holding a young Jesus. It was beautiful, and the setting – looking over a vast valley – was perfect. I spent some quiet time there.
When looking around I noticed the church ruins that Great Wall Forum member Andarchen wrote about as a comment a while ago. It too had a great setting above the village of Bataizi (meaning the place of eight watchtowers). I spent time photographing both the statue and the church ruins.
Altogether, it was a fairly emotional moment. Being at the site of a church reminded me of the churches I visited while kayaking the coast of Norway. The trip was not without danger, and it felt good to spend some quiet time in the churches.
As I entered the small village Bataizi, I noticed some English text on a wall saying Merry Christmas. It turned out a Chinese Catholic man lived there. He told me the church was raised by Germans in 1870. I look forward to showing pictures of the church on the website.
Thank you Helen for the translation help. And thank you very much Andarchen for letting me know about the site in advance!
It is windy now, and snowing outside. Not heavily. At Bataizi, I bought 3 litres of Ice Tea, peanuts and lots of large biscuits. Going to feast on them now.
A note – you have probably read about the sandstorm that hit northern China some days ago. Since I started walking, the sand has disappeared from the air, but if I walk through bushes, lots of sand (or loess) gets whipped up in the air.
14 kilometres today