Sleepless in Xi’an

To get from Beijing to Xi’an, we opted for the hard seats of a 15-hour, overnight train.


OK, so the hard seats (a class above the standing option) weren’t really a part of the plan, but it made for more of an adventure, as my mother would say.


Since sleeping wasn’t much of an option, we spend the night alternating who could read the one book we brought (The Count of Monte Cristo) and who would play solitaire with a 5 kuai deck of cards. Even so, we fared better than the French couple across from us. For, although they had each brought a Nintendo DS and an iPod, they had somehow gotten onto the train thinking that it could cover the distance in a couple of hours. When I told this story to my Chinese friends they responded, “Oh! It’s because France is too small!”


We finally arrived in Xi’an at 7 am, dropped our bags off at the hostel and immediately caught a bus to see the Terracotta Warriors. Although sleep deprivation may have prevented us from truly appreciating this particular UNESCO sight, it was still awe-inspiring. I definitely remember thinking that, from now on, whenever I read a book and the author tries to describe an army of 8,000 soldiers, I’ll have a great visual to look back on.

Ben contemplating the warriors

After leaving the warriors behind, we opted for a stroll through the Muslim Quarter: a part

of town that developed as a byproduct of the Silk Road. This part of town feels less East, and more Middle East (if you don’t mind being Eurocentric). The best part was the food! We had a great time trying to find a little bit of everything.


Our final venture in Xi’an led us to the City Wall. There aren’t many city walls left in China, so we wanted to take a gander at this one.


At the suggestion of our friend Julia, Ben and I decided to rent some bikes on top of the wall. It was a great idea (thanks Julia!) and Ben and I got to enjoy a sunset over the city during our ride. A perfect end to our northern vacation.

Atop Xi'an's City Wall


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Doug and Barb
    Aug 08, 2011 @ 15:37:26

    great blog. Great adventure (no pun intended). 15 hours on hard seats on a train. You two are intrepid for sure.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog Stats

  • 4,376 hits
%d bloggers like this: