China 04/18 – Xi’an

I know it’s not like me, but today you’ll have to suffer through pure sightseeing. Not a single cred was squeezed in.

Day 8 – Terracotta Army

So this place isn’t how I imagined it to be. For some reason I pictured it out in the sticks a bit, but instead it still feels like it’s in the city, which is a bit run down and rubbish.
The bus wasn’t great, taking 90 minutes for what was meant to be an hour of journey and then dumping you in the hell, next to the actual attraction, which is 100 people running over and shouting at you to come buy their touted tickets/MERS food/knock off souvenirs.
This observation is mainly in comparison to the Great Wall buses, which all had a dedicated guide instructing you during the journey on what to do when you arrive to avoid this crap.
Powered past it anyway and into the legit ticket office. We had arrived painfully early (~07:30) to avoid any ridiculous levels of overcrowding and this worked, getting us through the turnstyles within 5 minutes, slithering past 10000 tour groups of confused old people already causing chaos.

Another swift 10 minute walk through some trees and here we are.

The place is split into 3 ‘pits’, the first one having all this lot standing to attention:

Also not quite what I imagined. Pictured it to be a little adventure through some narrow old tomb (mainly thanks to Fantawild), rather than an aircraft hanger. But with other people involved, that would probably be disgusting.

Pit 3 has some broken ones.

Pit 2 they haven’t fully dug up.

It was all nice, quiet and relaxed in those bits. They had a few exhibits to the side of the buildings with stories and individual statues in glass (making for terrible pictures).

There was also a seasonal exhibition hall which had something in, but by the time we reached that it was a total scrum and you couldn’t really see anything. Believe it was about light and dark. Meh.

For one of the ‘big things’ to do out here, I wouldn’t really rate it personally. Might be because I prefer more of a visual experience as opposed to reading history while standing up. As we’ll come to later, I’d say there’s better ‘culture’ elsewhere in this city.

Heading back out of the place, there’s an assortment of shops, restaurants and stalls.

We’ve all got this guy to thank for discovering all that apparently. Smug.

Included free in the same ticket is the Emporer’s Mausoleum, so jumped on the shuttle bus for that next.

Heading into the place there’s an assortment of stalls and animals.

They were all just setting up for the day, so it was still very early.

Again, not what I was expecting. The tomb is an underground pyramid, under some grass in a closed off area. They ain’t done yet.

Turns out it’s a bit of that.

Some of that.

And a whole lot of this.

Here’s a model of the 2 for reference. Terracotta buildings on the left, whatever this place is on the right. All those surrounding areas of trees, now run down suburbs.

Looked like you can just walk out the back of the pit area and into this other place, rather than all the way off the left edge of the screen to take a shuttle bus, but that would be too clever wouldn’t it.

Legs already tiring, decided that was enough of that.

From the plaza outside, we found someone offering a completely unofficial ride to the next thing on the agenda.
Jumped in some bloke’s minivan with 1 other customer and off to

Huaqing Palace

This place seems more seemlessly integrated with the city, rather than having slums form around it. I actually really liked it.

Palace is an understatement to be honest, it’s a whole complex of its own, similar to the Forbidden City in Beijing but nowhere near so ’99 things the same’.
It wasn’t built as a place to rule China from, it was built as a place to chill out with the ladies.

Also comes with a free mountain.

Some of the buildings have museums in.

Others just sit pretty.

The complex is also linked to Huaqing Pool, in which some of the areas are hot springs.

Wisely decided to take the cable car up to the top of the mountain. It did an E-stop not far into the journey, which was rather fun, and then restarted very quickly. A woman at the top decided to have a hilarious shouting assault at the ticket window about the incident, claiming they shouldn’t have stopped it like that. All they could do was laugh in her face.

An overview of the size of the palace area.

Still going up.

Bit murky at the top.
From here it gets a bit more complicated, as you’ve entered normal civilisation again, public roads and houses.

There’s a team of golf buggy entrepeneurs on hand who do pick-ups and drop-offs at the various bits to see up here. They’d have you believe the sights are spread across “3 mountains” meaning “walking up and down each one”, but that’s a slight exaggeration/sales pitch. It is walkable, though as we’ll soon find out the sit down is rather welcome.

Stop 1.

Stop 2. There’s a bird park up here. Didn’t fancy it.

Stop 3. A nice quiet temple area.

Stop 4. More, busier temple areas.

Final stop. Still more temples. They all have different shrines and statues for various Gods within. Not meant to take pictures inside though.

Unwisely opted to walk back down to the bottom of the mountain from here. It’s a long old way – must have been a couple of thousand stairs downwards, interspersed with winding pathways.

All those steps turned the legs to jelly and it was somewhat more difficult to walk for the next couple of days.

The ‘Remonstration Pavilion’, click here for a history lesson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xi’an_Incident

Finally back down at base.

Oh good, more learning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yang_Guifei

And that just about rounded off the day. Time to catch another faffy bus.

The Bell Tower was on the way back to the hotel. Tick.
A successful sightseeing day, if there is such a thing.

Well done if you made it this far, here’s a bonus teaser for next time.

Day 9

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