I arrived into the Xi’an station bright and early after a fairly good nights sleep on the train. For the first time in China I was met by a hostel staff member to pick me up, unfortunately their car had broken down so we had to take the bus, but it was nice to not have to figure out how to get to the hostel.
I was meeting up with Julia again from Beijing whilst in Xi’an so had a companion for the few days I’ve been here that has been lovely. The hostel we were staying in was delightful, with a fantastic rooftop that had lots of chill out space, a ping pong table and even a sauna! That first morning was just spent resting up and planning our attack on the city.
Xi’an is a fantastic city, the old city where we were staying in had brilliant markets and food that you could wander for hours sampling little stalls here and there. Encasing the old city is its perfectly intact city walls, 16km of paved slabs giving views around the city. You can rent bikes from each of towers so Julia and I jumped in a tandom and spent the afternoon cruising round in the sun.
The next day was the visit to the terracotta warriors, a kind of must see, even just to say you’ve done it. We were meeting up with Paulino and Olivia that I’d meet in Pingyao and whilst on the bus out to the site met another traveler, Anneke, who came with us for the day.
The lonely planet recommended doing the three sites in reverse order to build up to the big one. The first two weren’t really very impressive, one being pretty small and the second vast but without any warriors. The main site was pretty cool, with hundreds of the statues in formation amongst their trenches. When you think about the craftsmanship that went into creating the tomb it is incredible, but personally I just found it ok to wander round.
We agreed to regroup at our hostel later for some rooftop drinks before finding a street food restaurant. Very popular in Xi’an is BBQ places where skiwers of chicken wings, beef, pepper and more are cooked up and eaten by hoard’s of diners on plastic tables and chairs. It’s not the cheapest meal due to the quantity of pure meat, but super tasty and we were out till midnight eating and drinking away.
The following day was a scorcher in the mid thirties, not the sort of day for hours of sightseeing so instead we played some ping pong in the morning, grabbed been noodles for lunch, then hit up the big Muslim market for some trinkets before attempting to go see the big pagoda and it’s fountain show in the evening. We got hopelessly lost in outer Xi’an yet did eventually see the pagoda, which was ok. The squares are all beautifully lit up at night though, with countless people dancing and many huge kites adorned with lights flying in the square.
Our final full day was spent day tripping to Hua Shan, this was quite a trip though so will get a separate post. Today Julia and I headed to airport to take our flights to Shanghai and Kunming respectively. Was a sad goodbye having done two awesome cities together, but I’m sure we’ll meet again somewhere.
So my northern chapter of China is over and I fly South to Yunnan province with a rough idea where I’m going for the next couple of weeks!