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semi-overcast 0 °C

We arrived in chilly Xi’an via sleeper train mid afternoon. We were both pretty exhausted having not slept well due to our screaming baby neighbour on the train bunks. We exited the grimy train station and made our way to the bus stop. Luckily, there were some English speaking locals who helped us get to our accommodation.


Since we wouldn’t be spending much time in Xi’an, we decided to take the metro and visit the old city walls despite the evening’s chilly bite. Using our “valid” student cards to score some cheap admission tickets, we entered the large, completely restored, old city walls of Xi’an. Built in 1370 during the Ming Dynasty, the 13.7 km long walls contain about 14 square kilometers of real estate. The city has grown considerably since the original walls were built; now the walls were filled with only a small portion of the city. Arches had been cut into the walls allowing roads with busy traffic to pass through freely. The fortified wall was built with a fake entrance, where the attacking armies would think they’d gained access inside, only to run into to a dead end. The defending army could then easily ambush the trapped attackers.


Walking inside we caught the end of a performance of men dressed in traditional army uniforms marching and doing drills to some epic battle music. Excited local tourists ran up immediately after to have their photos taken with the performers. We climbed up some narrow steps to reach the top of the wall to be greeted by a freezing wind. Despite the cold, we saw some tough locals and few foreigners ride the rented bicycles and the ever adorable, tandem bicycles, around the 13.7 kilometer long wall. They also had battery cars for those too lazy to walk it.

The wall was lined with red lanterns hanging from street poles and speakers playing the soothing Chinese traditional instrumental music. We headed West along the ancient wall to watch the sun set through Xian’s modern skyline. After the sun went down the lanterns and temples nestled on the top of the walls lit up beautifully.


We walked for over an hour we and climbed down the wall to try our luck at finding food in the nearby Muslim district. We eventually found a build-your-own pita type food cart that you could fill with just about anything. After we devoured our tasty pitas, we visited Chinese Wal-Mart and picked up some snacks which included Great Value Pringle like chips from Canada, Delicious.

Posted by Sarah.M 20:23 Archived in China Tagged walls xi'an cold

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