With Christmas coming up, and New Year’s day after that, I’m hoping to have a bit of time to catch up on my blog in the coming weeks. For now, I’ll begin with a post about our Golden Week holiday in Xian.
Every year Dave and I struggle with a difficult choice. One one hand, travelling during golden week is a nightmare of crowds and scams, and neither of us can be bothered to deal with any of it. On the other hand, it’s a chance to travel…our love of travelling always wins out, and this year, we decided to embark on an adventure to see China’s renown Terracotta Warriors, in Xi’an.
Although Dave and I have always taken trips on our own, we decided to switch things up for this holiday and we went to Xi’an with our friend, Kevin. We’ve met so many new people this year, and it’s been great expanding our group of friends. When you only live in a city for a year, it’d difficult to make quality friendships, because you’re mostly limited to only people you work with. In year two, you’ve had a chance to meet people outside of your school as well. It’s so great having a good base of friends to hang out with, who share our values, our interests and our love for KTV!! (except Kevin…he hates KTV :P. This is further proof to my suspicion that he’s not really Chinese at all!)
Because China’s train system is both more convenient and more cost effective than flying, we took the high speed train to Xian. The trip takes 6.5 hours from Suzhou, but with electric plugs and good company, the time flew by. Before we knew it, we were in China’s Shaanxi Province, and the former capital of the nation: Xian.
Although we mostly traveled to Xian for the Warriors, there was plenty else to see while we were there. Our hostel was located near two of the most famous buildings in the city: The drum tower and The Bell Tower. Both are beautiful during the day, but even more spectacular at night.
We were also close to another of Xi’an’s main attractions: The Muslim Quarter. Chinese Muslim food is some of the best food in the country, and you can find it in abundance in Xi’an. From street carts, to shops to restaurants, if you enjoy mutton and spicy, high flavoured food, Xi’an will be a treat for your taste buds!
The nightlife in Xi’an was most enjoyable for me. I found it to be quite hot there, but at night the temperature would drop a bit, and it became easier to wander around the city and see the sights that many tourists don’t usually see. We ended up in one area where there were dozens of tiny traditional Chinese restaurants. In that same area, we saw a ‘tea cup breaking’ ceremony that’s suppose to give you luck, and, of course, I made a sport of bargaining for gifts in Xi’an’s markets. After 4 years in China, I’ve become pretty good at getting good deals in these funny little places!
Xi’an has a lot to offer for tourism, which is why 8 million people came to visit the city during Golden week in 2015. 2016 didn’t seem to be much different, because everywhere we went, we were fighting the crowds. If we were less positive of people, I would say that the crowds ruined our holiday, but we did our best to stay positive.
All in all, I’ll remember Xi’an for the fantastic meals we ate, and the terracotta warriors. They deserve a post of their own, so I’ll be writing about them next time!!
Stay tuned for a history lesson on China’s Qin Dynasty, as well as some fabulous anecdotes and photos from our trip to see one of China’s National Treasures!