|We successfully negotiated Beijing railway station and took the fast train to Xian. The view from the train was very disappointing as the smog was so heavy we couldn't see much at all. Unfortunately the smog is also very heavy here in Xian as well.
Our hotel here is very beautiful and our room overlooks a delightful courtyard. We are very close to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda which dominates the landscape and sits over a lovely water feature which is lit up at night. The area surrounding the hotel is beautiful with many gardens and lots of statues relating the monk who the pagoda was built for. He traveled to India for many years and brought back many scripts about the Buddha. The story of his travels is reputed to be the inspiration for the Monkey Magic series. I took photos of some of the statues early in the morning but unfortunately I seem to have lost my camera. Hopefully it is in our guides car.
The weather has turned very cold and it rained most of today. Light in the morning but fairly heavy this afternoon. I am very glad of the jacket I bought although it seemed like a bit of an expense at the time.
This morning we went to see the Terracotta Warriors and I am so glad we did. It is absolutely amazing. Since they found the site in the 1970s they have been painstakingly reassembling the warriors and our guide says it will take another 50 years to complete. At the site of the emperors tomb they also found two bronze coaches each drawn by four horses which had been crushed and broken and these have also been restored and are on display. They are about half the size of real horses and carriages and are displayed behind glass so it was difficult to get a decent picture of them. But they are stunning. The farmer who supposedly found the site was in attendance to sign a book about the site. He is now in his eighties and although he cannot read or write he has learned to sign his name especially for this purpose. Naturally we bought the book and got the signature.
After that we took a look at the city wall which was built in the 15th century. Xian is on of the few cities in China which still has it's city wall intact. It is very wide and about 14 kilometres long and provides good views of the city. Our plan was to hire bikes and ride all the way around but it was raining fairly heavily by then so we gave it a miss. We then had a look at the Muslim Quarter which is a bit like the Stanley markets in HongKong, the Great Mosque and the Drum Tower then back to the hotel for dinner and another early night.
Tomorrow we catch a plane to Shanghai