Wow, have we had a couple of big days.
Yesterday we left in the morning for our pilgramage to the Terracotta Warriors museum. It’s an hour long drive fron Xian and we used the time in the bus for some karaoke singing. I don’t quite know if you’d call it singing, but it was a lot of fun. The Terracotta warriors didn’t fail to disappoint. It is a real moment to walk into Pit 1 and see them laid out before you, row after row after row. The girls were all very impressed. It is wonderful to see them gain such an appreciation of the historical significance of this find. Olive, our new guide, was terrific. She gave us commentary as we walked through the pits and we were in command of knowledge that gave us greater insight. Once again we seemed to be the main items of attraction at times with many a Chinese person wanting to photograph us. The girls got canny in the end and started turning our cameras on them which was enough to discourage a few! We left the museum after 2.30 and made our way to Mt. Huashan. We didn’t get to the Gondalas that took us up the mountain until nearly 5.00pm so we knew we would be completing part of the climb in the dark. The gondalas themselves caused much excitement- they go up 1600 metres on a steep incline and the girls were surprised at the height. We started the climb just after 5.00pm and it was pretty much everything I remembered from last year – up and up and up! The girls were great. It was hard, but all of them showed strength of spirit and put their all into getting to the hotel at the top of the mountain. By 6.45 most of us were at the hotel, and a few of us bringing up the rear made it by 7.00pm. It was dark but it just made for a more interesting experience. We got to see the lights of the surrounding area below.It is truly a magnificent mountain; well worth the monumental effort that is the climb up.
The hotel was basic, but it is simply amazing that there are even hotels up there. Everything on that mountain needs to be carried up. We all went to bed early ready for our 5.15 start to the day to see the sunrise. We hiked to an area where we could see it but cloud cover prevented us from getting a view. The girls were happy to begin the descent, and even happier to finally get back in the coach and sleep on the way back to Xian. On our return we celebrated with a visit to Starbucks! So nice to get a real coffee at last. Quite a number of people were accessing the free wifi there too. Bonus. We freshened up, had a lovely lunch and hit the Muslim Quarter market for the afternoon. Picked up a few nice items that will serve as fond memories from my time here. I’ll try and get a quick post in tomorrow if I can. We ride bikes around the Xian city wall tomorrow. The wall is over 600 years old and it is great hopping on a tandem bike and experiencing the 14.5km circuit. We leave in the late afternoon to catch a sleeper train to Beijing. The girls are having a wonderful experience here and we are enjoying their company. They are a pleasure to be around (when they aren’t squealing that is!) Once again I’m writing this from the hotel lobby and I can’t get pictures posted. I promise to include some of Mt.Huashan once I can use the mini PC again. Hopefully our rooms will have wireless access in Beijing.