We take Xian very slowly and relaxed. All days behind us are starting to put some weight on our backs and the never-ending rain here is not helping.
Xian feels more modern than Beijing, or at least the quarter where we are staying. The two lines of metro are super clean and modern, also more expensive. The streets are full of stores, including a Walmart!
Our favorite place, the Muslim Quarter, close to the Drum and Bell towers. This place is like a giant food market. All streets are full of life and packed with small restaurants and food stands selling the highlights: “biang biang” noodles, small potatoes or tofu fried and spiced—so good!, spiced gelatin, meat and squid skewers, pork pitas, rice cakes, moon cakes, sweets… We will eat here two times during our stay, despite the absence of hygiene, for which we still care, but there’s nothing we can do.
Inside the Muslim quarter there is a Mesquite famous enough to be visited by our current King Felipe a bunch of years ago. We get lost for some time trying to find the entrance and we visit it. It turns out to be quite interesting when you notice the mix of Chinese and Arab decorations in the Mesquite slash Temple. Here are some pictures.
We spend too much time finding things to eat in the Muslim quarter and fail to get the right bus once so we arrive too late to see the Goose Pagoda. All we can do is take a picture of the pagoda from outside and some of its surroundings.
We’re taking it so slow that it is not until the third and last day that we’ll visit the Terracotta Warriors. They are outside of Xian and we have to take an hour bus to get there. The complex is around a big park and the main visit is divided in three buildings covering pits of warriors. We are a bit late and decide to start from the big one contrary to what the guidebooks recommend. It is indeed amazing. Around two thousand statues can be seen here. Infantry, archers, horses, all of real size with full details and unique facial features. Most of them are reconstructed piece by piece with the still ongoing labor of digging and restoration.
On the second pit, they have some of them exposed in vitrines—full of fingerprints as they love to put hands everywhere—where we can appreciate the level of detail and some remains of the painting that peeled off shortly in contact with the air. They also have some weapons exposed, including swords—still sharp since they covered them with chromium more than two thousand years before that technique was used by Germans or Americans.
We loved the visit despite it being quite simple. Totally recommended!