Now, I don’t vacation without Maggie, so I called this week of traveling an ‘educational excursion’ which fits really well. The sites I went to over the week were some of the places I have been learning about in history classes since elementary school. These places included Xi’an’s Muslim Quarters, Bell Tower, Terracotta Warriors and Beijing’s Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and Olympic Village.
First stop – Xi’an. Now, Maggie toured Xi’an two times several years ago, once with her mom and once with her sister, Kaitie. She told me Xi’an was amazing and she didn’t exaggerate.
My friend, Charles and I, flew into Xi’an Sunday afternoon and took a taxi to the Han Tang Inn Hostel. It was clean, conveniently located and cheap – at about $20USD for a private room with ensuite and two twin beds it was definitely affordable.
After checking in we went looking for dinner. We walked down to the Muslim Quarters, a popular tourist location in the Muslim community of Xi’an famous for Muslim food and souvenirs. We stopped at a noodle restaurant. The noodles were more like lasagna noodles and were extremely spicy. It was pretty hard to eat, but totally worth the effort – they were really good!
After dinner, we walked around the Muslim Quarters a bit more then walked to the Bell Tower. We headed back to the hostel early because the next day we headed to see the Terracotta Warriors.
Now this was awesome but there was one major bummer – Michelle Obama decided to visit this site on the same day. Thankfully, our tour was shortened instead of cancelled. I met a couple of guys from the States who didn’t get to see the Forbidden City because of Mrs. Obama’s visit – so I shouldn’t be too disappointed.
|Insert Maggie to my left|
We got to see the farmer who found the warriors on his land as well as learn about the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. The purpose of this terracotta army was to protect him in his afterlife. He had the artists who worked on this army buried alive so no one would know where he hid it.
After we finished with the Terracotta Warriors we headed back to the hostel to to get cleaned up. We took an overnight train from Xi'an to Beijing that night, so our time in Xi'an was really short. Before we got on the train we decided to get medical massages - I have never been in so much pain and I never knew my body could bend the way it did! But I felt great after it was over!
I had never taken an overnight train, and I love anything with a motor so I was pretty pumped about seeing some of China's countryside - which wasn't visible till the next morning, so in the meantime I took advantage of the beds - I know they don't look like much but I was able to get a few solid hours of sleep which surprised me!
We arrived in Beijing around 1:00 pm and met up with four more of our classmates. I was pretty exhausted after being up so late and the excitement of touring around Xi'an, but the adrenaline of finally seeing Beijing kept me going!