Trip Start Aug 27, 2011
98Trip End Jun 01, 2012
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Where I stayed
Yamen Hostel Pingyao
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
The conductors come round and let you know 30 minutes in advance when your stop is coming up. When I finally depart the train, the weather had dramatically changed and I quickly apply my hat, scarf and gloves! It's extremely cold! I emailed ahead for a FREE pick up and expecting a car, I got an old man, his bike and a carriage attached, He looked at me and blew out his cheeks!
The ride was great, It took him ten miuntes to cycle to the hostel. When we arrived, I patted him on the back and then he sat in the hostel for ten minutes, catching his breath.
Pingjao is the China I had imagined on my trip from Russia, Not the modern Beijing, but this ancient walled town. Red lanterns hug the streets, there is elegant courtyard architecture, ancient towers facing the north China sky and creeking temples and buildings. The city is full of local people, cycling a delivery of fruit to a shop, hanging washing on the street, playing cards in a courtyard, and saying hello to all Western tourists. If you want to escape the busy atmosphere of Beijing, then Pingyao is your place,
So I did exactly that, I spent two days relaxing, reflecting, chilling and eating. Each day would involve a long lie in, a walk before lunch, relaxing in the sunny atmosphere of the communual area in the hostel and maybe the odd film in the evening.
After spending so much time with a couple of great people, I enjoyed the solitude of my own company and tried very hard to avoid the eye contact of a former Republican party employee from the USA. He was walking up to everyone and telling them about his life. Now, if he started a conversation about food, then I'd be very interested in chatting.
There was the opportunity to spend 12 quid and climb the city walls. Instead for 50 pence, I climbed the ancient building in the centre and watched the sun set on this peaceful dwelling. I was also the main attraction for many Chinese tourists, taking snaps of me, I particularly enjoyed watching little cats wander around on roof tops, looking for mischief or another spot in the sun to lie out.
I had a great time in Pingjao and managed to relax, catch up with some of my family and of course, enjoy some delicious food, Pingjao style.
My next destination was Xi'an. I booked my train ticket through the hostel but they messed up twice, I booked hard seat again but eventually they told me the seats ran out and I needed to pay double for a hard sleeper. I wasn't happy about that and I was in a little mood that I was unable to chat to my mum or my dad on skype, so I turned to the young girl and gave her some grief, We agreed I would pay for a hard seat but actually I would get a hard sleeper, so my journey to Xi'an would not be back breaking.
It turns out, I walked back to the train station quicker than the guy who cycled me.
Next stop Xi'an.