The travel diaries: China - Xī'ān

Finally, we are out of Běijīng and exploring the massiveness that is China!
Our first stop? Nearly 500km to the west lies China's oldest Greatest Ancient Capital: Xī'ān!

Me and P spent two nights there, just enough time to capture the unique atmosphere of the city.
I confess I was expecting a not so developed city, but much to my amazement, Xī'ān is almost as big and busy as Běijīng.

We stayed in a hostel in the heart of the muslim quarter and that was an amazing idea! The quarter is mainly muslim but you can find other ethnicities, just like in any other part of town.
The food is amazing, combining what you'd expect to find in a chinese restaurant with that of a muslim restaurant. The same goes for achitecture.
Xī'ān is definitely a worthy stop if you're ever in China. Its charm goes so much more beyond the Terracota Warriors and we'll get to those in a bit.

Street food is a-ma-zing!! 

Xī'ān is usually more poluted than Běijīng, but tere was nothing but blue skies!!

We wandered a lot through the quarter and saw the Bell and Drum Towers and, by the end of the day, decided to visit the Great Mosque.

Imagine a traditional chinese building, but with halls for praying, reserved for only muslims and even noticing small non-chinese details here and there... I was fascinated how two apparently different things blended so well...

Guess what's next?

FOOD FOOD FOOD!! That first night we wanted a local experience, as authentic as we could get it... So we wandered the streets back and forth, looking for a place outdoors to eat. We looked for places with locals, not restaurants and not street food, but a more improvised patio, with a few chairs gathered around low camping tables... And we ended eating what you see above. DELICIOUS, absolutely delicious!! We had an orange soda, because... Well, muslim quarter so no alcohol.
Since those were not enough to feed us, we got back to the hostel aaaand...

Gong pao chicken and french fries with beers! Cheers!!

On the next day we took the much awaited tour and visited the Terracota factory... Of course, they tried to make us buy a whole load of junk, but it was interesting watching the workers mold the clay into what would become a little soldier.

Imagine a greenhouse-like structure...made of metal... Under the sun and filled with dirt and clay... Thousands and thousands of people breathing the same air and no ventilation or A/C...
You think that got to me? I was thrilled. Looking at one of the Wonders of the World. THE TERRACOTA ARMY!!! A massive collection of soldier figurines, with distinctive race and rank signs, no two faces are alike...the pictures are from Pit 1 (there are three) and that's the biggest - about 7000 figures were burried here...

Can you tell I was just a little too excited?!

The reconstruction area, in the back of Pit 1.

Pit 2: smaller, with less figures and a lot more of them are damaged.

Standing on the Tomb of the First Emperor. There's not much to see, you are shown a small hill, nicely kept gardens and then led to a small square and told "beneath this path lies the Tomb, but you cannot enter. But look, some pictures of the inside". As far as I could understand, the entrance was sealed and no one goes in....

Back to town and out for a stroll on the Ming Wall.

Beautiful sunset and the lamps on the Wall were so pretty.

More street food...

The chinese version of a hamburger... DELISH!!!!!!!

I have no photos of our dinner (too hungry to remember, sorry) but this is the entrance of the restaurant. I believe it was the Muslim Family Restaurant and make sure to go there if you're ever in Xī'ān. Look for the belly dancer mannequin outside and you won't miss it.

This was our Xī'ān chapter and I loved it! Food, sights, city vibe...
Stay tuned for the next chapter as we travel south...




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