The train trip to Xian was relatively comfortable and the whole family were relieved to be leaving behind the hustle and bustle of Shanghai
. The sleeper room slept 4, so Campbell our "wannabe independent traveller" volunteered to go into the other room. There was a bright, full moon so we were able to catch the Chinese countryside sights which Hannah declared was the China she had hoped to see. Broad rivers, conical hills and forests. As we passed through towns there were crops planted in every available scrap of land, including the margins of the train tracks. We arrived into Xi'an at 10.30am to find it less cosmopolitan than Shanghai, still busy but not as crazy. The weather has been grey and dreary so our photos are insipid. Our accomodation is an apartment at the top of a 32 story block in a residential area. Andrew found it on an accomodation website. It was the same price as the hostel but has 3 rooms and 2 bathrooms. We are not in the touristy section of Xian but being here helps us navigate around the city by taxi, bus and the newly opened Train service (yesterday, very clean and slick). We are only a 5 min drive to the northern gate in the city wall or a twenty minute walk if the taxis are not stopping.
Xi'an has an ancient city wall that surrounds the original city. It is the best preserved and complete ancient city walls in China. Originally built in 582 AD. It was established at the end of the Silk Road and at the time, Xi'an was the Largest capital city in the world. To stand on the wall is amazing.
The boys managed to tandem bike ride along and around the top of the wall (23km circuit) on Thursday. Hannah and I are hoping to do it before we leave.
Yesterday was Hannah's day to plan out our sights. We did a pagoda trek starting with the Little Goose Pagoda which I got to climb. FOurteen flights of stairs. Not for those who have height, small space and second hand smoke issues ( the pagoda attendant decided to light up a smoke which proceeded to follow me up and inside the pagoda. They smoke everywhere!) We ended up at the Large Wild Goose Pagoda which was of course even bigger, we got there too late and it was raining but it was a pretty place and the park area surrounding it was of course commercial with all the markets and surrounding shopping centres but the lights in the trees and misty fountains made it very picturesque.
Today we are off to see the much anticipated "Terracotta warriors". We have booked a guy with his mini van to take us out there. It is a 45 min. drive out of Xian and we are getting picked up in 30 mins. Will share when we get back.
I will pick out some photos soon but will post this before we leave.
Hope that is enough for now.
After a stay in the Mecure hotel for Hannah's birthday on Monday night (a treat for Hannah, space for everyone, time out for mum and dad, it was a win, win situation) we caught a train to Xi'an. We were booked on 5 soft sleepers, departure was at 7.10pm on Tuesday and the trip was expected to take 14 hours. We checked out from the Mecure at 12pm then camped in the lobby until 6pm. Andrew and Hannah went for an explore around that part of Shanghai which consisted largely of shoes shop, women's clothes stores and western style food courts. We sat around ate, read, played cards and waited in comfort for the 6 hours. Just as well because I started feeling 'stomach ill" (what Hannah and Samuel had) but I was loaded up on gastro stop and Norxfloxacin and panadol by the time we got on the train and I survived thanks to my soft sleeper and 8 hours sleep. Thank goodness I didn't need the toilet until we go to our accomodation in Xi'an.