The Terracotta pits are now the 8th Wonder of the World (check that one off our list). These original warriors, which are over 2200 year old were destroyed, buried and now uncovered and put back together with incredible care. You can see the work still going on as they discover more and more of these and other relics buried with this Emperor. It was all discovered in 1974 by three simple farmers, of which only one survives and is often in the museum signing books. We were one of the lucky ones who were allowed to have our picture taken with him.
Xian is a beautiful city with a rich history. As the original capital city of China’s first Dynasty it played an important role to the destiny and culture of this vast country. Xian’s city wall is much as it was during this age with the exception that it no longer houses the Emperor and his concubines. Today it is “wall to wall” buildings, houses, shops and restaurants. We explored the 8.5 mile city wall by bike and by foot and found it a wonderful way to view both the city within and the vast metropolis outside the walls.
At the end of the day we said goodbye to the 7 million people of Xian by joining what seemed like the majority of them at the train station to board our sleeper car to Beijing. This was an experience I’m not sure we want to repeat, but not sure we wanted to miss. It seemed like millions were pushing their way through only a handful of passageways all with luggage and boxes in tow. The following day is the beginning of National day, which lasts for 7 days to be more precise. Everyone it seemed wanted to get out of town and join a celebration somewhere. Our tour guide told us after we had gone through the gauntlet, “That wasn’t very busy at all, I expected many more people to be here”. You couldn’t have fit any more people there.
The train was a fun experience (Did I say that diplomatically enough?). Really, It was fun, but for a “soft sleeper” it had much to be desired. However we are told they have “hard sleepers” with just a board for a bed, so we felt very lucky and listened to the train click along the track, as we all tried to get as much sleep as we could. We arrived in Beijing almost three hours late and there, the “millions” of people from Xian were joined with “millions” of others from all over China.