Xian – Terracotta Warriors & Hua Shan

Posted on December 3, 2012


If you’re going to visit anywhere outside of Beijing, Xian and the Terracotta warriors have to be high on the list of priorities.  Earlier in the summer I had planned to go there with my sister and her boyfriend.  For one reason or another that came to nothing – just as well, perhaps, as she has an overwhelming fear of terracotta – something I was able to put to the test a few years ago in the kitchenware department at John Lewis.

But it’s a trip I did manage to make when my parents came to visit.

I have to say, it didn’t start auspiciously.  The airline had changed both the flight number and the time of the flight without telling me, leading to a mild panic on arrival at the airport and something of a false front that I’m pretty sure both parents saw straight through!

Xian itself didn’t start any better.  A mild rain turned to a downpour.  A hunt for the start of the Silk Road turned into a wild goose chase (without any usable public conveniences) and Mum’s sandals fell apart!

Just then, of course, we found a cobbler on the street, the rain let up, the next set of toilets were lovely and, before we knew it we were standing at the West Gate at the start of one of the most famous roads in history – though with no silk to speak of.

Xian was our jumping off point for the Terracotta Warriors and Hua Shan, but it’s a pretty good place in its own right.  The souk (more Arabic than Chinese), the strange snacks we bought from a Muslim confectioners, the drum and bell towers and, of course, the city walls.

We perhaps didn’t have enough time to spend on the walls themselves, nor had we realised ahead of time that you can rent bikes on the top of them.  Another surprising, and pleasing finding, but one we didn’t take advantage of.

The only downside we found was trying to get a taxi.  Try as we might, nobody wanted to stop between 6pm and midnight.  At one point, people’s attempts to stand up-stream of each other led to several people trying to flag cabs in the middle of a four lane roundabout!

Luckily, for the main trips out, and back to the airport, we’d already bagged a driver and, luckily for us, that made a trip that started slowly, blossom into a fantastic three days.

Posted in: China, Holidays, Photos, Travel