ASTONISHINGLY XI’AN …

CHINA BLOG 11

Sunday May 29, 2016

Long before we got to Xi’an (pronounced ‘Shee-arn’) we knew it was gonna be a whopper-stopper. I mean, back in the day it was China’s ancient capital, where the famous trading route – the ‘Silk Road’ – used to start. This legendary city grew to become a melting pot of cultures and religions, as well as home to emperors, courtesans, poets, monks, merchants and warriors. And, even though its glory days ended in the early 10th century, many elements of Old Xi’an are still present:

  • like the narrow, weathered alleyways of the Muslim Quarter … which we explored, after trekking through yet another fascinating food-&-souvenir market
  • like the massive encircling Ming-era walls (complete with moat and watchtowers) … which we ogled, then scaled, then walked around on top of
  • like the fabled Wild Goose Pagoda, an active Buddhist temple… which we didn’t climb, thank goodness (well, give us a break – it was raining!)
  • like the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World, the Buried Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang … truly one of the most incredible sights you could ever lay eyes on: 8000-plus Terracotta Warriors, standing rank upon rank, armed and ready for battle – with war-horses and chariots close at hand!

Speaking of emperors, 496 of them ruled throughout China’s never-ending history, 75 of them from Xi’an. Emperor Qin (pronounced ‘Chin’) was probably the most famous (he unified the previously-warring states in 221 BC, then, more than 2000 years ago, ordered construction of the Great Wall) … and perhaps the most brutal (when his massive tomb was finished, he had his hard workers and happy concubines buried alive with those fearsome terracotta warriors, to make sure the place stayed a secret).

It’s a much longer story, of course, and our heads were spinning as we left the area. (If you give your Mad Midlife friends half a chance, they’ll bore you senseless with the details – and your head will be spinning, too!) But don’t worry: we unwound that same evening at a stunningly colourful Tang Dynasty Show! And (you ain’t gonna believe this, but …) we V.I.P. Kiwis actually got ON STAGE with the performers at the end of the show!

Just feast your eyes on the pix …

STILL TO COME: Last but not least, we reach Beijing – yet another glittering, glamorous, ultra modern Chinese city … bulging at the seams with 23 million people plus a mind-boggling past: the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, and (you’ve been waiting for this – right?) the Great Wall of China! So stay tuned …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to receive future Mad Midlife Travel Blogs in your INBOX, just sign-up (top-right) for your free Email Subscription! And if you’d like to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on the little speech bubble at the top of this entry, and add your comments! (Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief.)

This entry was posted in 2016 China by John Cooney. Bookmark the permalink.

About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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