As we continued our journey through this fascinating country, we made our way to the intriguing ancient city of Pingyao. The city itself was an incredible place, all of the buildings inside of the old city section were traditional brick construction, and most were several centuries old. The 10 meter high stone walls surrounding the ancient city are some 700 years old themselves… yeah, that’s right, seven hundred years. Even the guest house that we stayed in was nearly 300 years old. This place is incredible.
As we arrived, we made our way to our guest house, and I just had to take a look around. It was nighttime already and getting dark, but I just needed to go out and explore this place. Two things came of that night. First, I got lost, wandered through some completely pitch black alley ways and circled our guest house several times before finding my way, and second, I caught a cold. It was a bit of a bummer, but the owner of our guest house was so kind and helpful, and she even wrote down on a piece of paper the name of some Chinese medicine and directed us to the pharmacy.
All in all we had a great time wandering the narrow streets, exploring the ancient architecture, and perusing the many awesome antique shops.
After the ancient walled city of Pingyao we made our way south for some warmer climates, and some more ancient and incredible history in the city of Xi’An, where the museum of the terra cotta warriors is located.
We arrived in the city by train, and as we left the station we were greeted by the usual rush of taxi drivers, touts, and general swelling crowds. Amidst the confusion we found a quiet spot (no easy feat in most chinese cities) and looked up the directions to our next hostel. We (very bravely, if I do say so myself) jumped onto the public bus, not really sure if we were going in the right direction, or maybe to a different city, and after some helpful advice from a friendly local found our proper stop. After walking through a city square lined with elderly couples enjoying morning tai chi, we found the hostel and settled in. After asking where to get some good local food nearby we were directed to Xi’An’s famous Muslim quarter where we enjoyed an afternoon of amazing and strange street food, and insanely crowded streets. But it was worth it, and we returned a few days in a row for the food alone. Then came the journey to the museum of the Terra Cotta Warriors.
I love history, and seeing it first hand, so the museum was a treat for me (if a bit on the expensive side, and quite different than I imagined) But it was a great day and the scope and detail of the warriors absolutely blew my mind.
After spending one more night in Xi’An, we hopped on a flight headed towards our special rural excursion to one of the most beautiful spots I have ever seen in my life.