Visiting the walled city of Xi’an China and the Museum of Terracotta Warriors & Horses was a dream come true for me. I don’t recall when I first learned of the ancient city of Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province in China, but I had wanted to travel there for years.
The opportunity arose when I was studying international business at Austin Community College (ACC) and I heard about the study abroad programs offered by the college.
Group travel and tours have never appealed to me but I was willing to try something new in order to fulfill my desire to visit China. All of the planning, scheduling, booking was completed by somebody else which I consider both a positive – I saved time – and a negative – I didn’t get to choose!
The 10-day tour of China started in the capital city of Beijing and we traveled to Xi’an via an overnight train. I enjoy train travel and our overnight trip was more enjoyable than taking a tour bus everywhere as we had done in Beijing. I prefer to travel with the local people in order to experience more of the culture. Interacting with locals is a big part of the travel experience for me.
On our second day we were given an afternoon to wander around on our own in central Xi’an – a welcome break from the planned events and much more my style of travel. I walked to the nearby Muslim quarter to visit the Great Mosque then walked around exploring the area.
I bought some mandarin oranges from a street vendor and she didn’t speak any English but she held out her hand to signal the price. I knew she was saying 8 yuan because we had learned the hand signals for the numbers 1 through 10 while visiting Beijing. Her face lit up with a big smile when she realized I understood her hand signal and gave her the correct amount of currency. I was pleased that I had remembered and I enjoyed a delicious orange as a snack. I also tried some fresh squeezed pomegranate juice – remembering how delicious it was when I visited Turkey.
We had an excellent tour guide in Xi’an named Ms Zhou who taught us much about the history of Xi’an and took us on our tour of the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses which was a big highlight of my trip to China. The site contains more than 8,000 terracotta soldiers – each unique in appearance – and dozens of chariots and horses.
The Masaleum of Emperor Qin was discovered in 1974 by local farmers – what an astounding treasure to have uncovered!
The warriors with their chariots and horses were buried with Emperor Qin in 210 BCE and were buried at the site to protect the emperor in the afterlife.
One evening we enjoyed an elaborate theatrical show by the Tang Dynasty Song and Dance Troupe featuring singing, music, and dancing.
There was also a dumpling banquet dinner – it was delicious! This was one of my favorite meals in China! We enjoyed a variety of fillings in the dumplings formed into various shapes.
We toured some of the artisan galleries in Xi’an with stops at a rug showroom and a ceramic and lacquer factory.
I would love to revisit Xi’an in order to spend more time exploring this fascinating city on my own! I hope you enjoyed my highlights of Xi’an China and the Terracotta Warriors.
A journey through the alphabet with ABC Wednesday Project where people from around the world create a weekly post – visiting the letter X this week.