Warriors and Walls

But not THAT wall, or at least not yet. We'd reached the famous and fabled city of Xian which could only mean one thing, a visit to the renowned underground Army of Terracotta Warriors. Feeling like tourists and looking like them as well, we climbed onto a coach and were driven out to the site. I managed to lose almost everyone in our group except my sidekick for the day, Tim, we used the Lonely Planet guide to find our way around and learn about these fascinating figures. We were glad we’d followed the advice in the book as it meant we started at Pit 3 and worked our way back to Pit 1 which is actually the most impressive with its row upon row of soldiers in their thousands. It seemed incredible that they were all created more than 2000 years ago, the detailed work that went into them is phenomenal, and as someone who isn’t usually very good at appreciating cultural stuff, I am proud to say that we took the maximum allowed time to have a look around. In fact we almost over-ran on time and ended up racing through the museum at the end hunting for the bronze chariots that Tim was particularly keen to see.

I had a lot of time in Xian, as, due to the change of route we’d been forced to take, we had missed some of the highlights to the south including the monasteries and monkeys in Mount Emie. The group of riders was flown down with Mark and Leon the guide while Alan and myself stayed behind in Xian for several days. We busied ourselves with a thorough clean of the van, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor in the back as we removed the dust and dirt accumulated over the weeks of travel.  Once the cleaning was done, I got up to date with the blogs for the company website as well as downloading, labelling and cataloguing the hundreds of photos that had been taken with the GlobeBusters camera (by the end of the trip, there were over 2000 pictures!). With all my chores completed, we could relax for a day or so, though the torrential rain limited our activities. One sunny morning we made it out onto the city walls for a look around, having heard that the walls are about nine miles in length we opted to hire bicycles. Unlike the Great Wall of China, this one is relatively flat, though just as wide at about 20 feet in width. There was a shortage of bikes and for a while it looked like we would have to hire a tandem, these bikes were somewhat decrepit and the thought of being on one wasn’t appealing. Luckily a couple of single bikes were brought back by some tired riders and so off we went. It’s a great way to see the city, up on a stone wall, above the choking lanes of traffic, going at our own speed and making the most of the cooling breezes. It provided an opportunity to gaze at the houses and gardens, getting a glimpse of everyday life in a Chinese City as well as looking down on temples, markets and back street shops. The saddle could have been a bit more comfortable in my opinion and after two hours of sitting on it I was left with a sore backside for the next few day