Friday, April 13, 2018

Weekend in Xi'an | Part II

After we had lunch, we packed up and headed out to round two of the tour. We got to pick what we wanted to do in the afternoon and we settled on seeing the city wall, visiting the drum tower, the bell tower and Muslim Quarters.

^ Ev's was so so so tired and she eventually fell asleep on me during the car ride to the city wall! it has been forever since my baby has fallen asleep on me and I savored every sweet breath and gentle sigh. gosh, I miss that baby stage some days. ^
^ a little map of the city wall. ^
^ twirling in front of the city wall door - looks just like the one in Beijing. ^
^ climbing up the city wall! ^

^ sadly, there were no bikes with baby seats, so we had to opt out of riding bikes on the city wall. ^
^ my favorite part of the city wall was looking down at the parks and the moat that surrounded it. ^

^ so beautiful! ^

^ got my twirling around the world picture :). ^
^ we loved these old doors. ^

^ really quite stunning to see how massive this city wall is. the girls enjoyed exploring, poking their heads into nooks and crannies and of course, twirling. ^

^ same architecture as Beijing. after exploring a bit and have a very unsuccessful kite flight (no pictures because from the minute they went up, it was a disaster), we headed back down and into our car. ^

^ we drove to the bell tower. there are two towers that anchor the Xi'an city center (the Bell Tower and right behind it, the Drum Tower). ^
^ quite possibly the coolest Starbucks I have ever seen. China knows how to do Starbucks. ^
^ the drum tower. ^

^ Then we walked over to Muslim Quarters (very similar to Jin Li street in Chengdu - famous for its snack foods). I was dying to get an authentic lamb kabob and Chinese hamburger and the recommendations that our guide gave us did not disappoint - I thought it was delicious. ^
^ I love a daddy that will always stop and fix hair :). ^

^ to wrap up our visit to Muslim Quarters, Wes located this popsicle stand and we had some very delicious strawberry pops. ^
^ back at our hotel, the girls wanted to go swimming so we got ready to go. this girl caught sight of herself in the mirror and liked what she saw and could not stop dancing. ^
^ the only mom fail... I forgot to bring the goggles! ^
^ that night we headed down to the lobby, the girls already in their jammies, to grab a drink and a snack at the hotel lobby bar and the girls loved the performers! ^
^ we literally got to see everything we wanted to see in Xi'an during our one day tour so the next day we decided to take it easy. super easy. we slept in (as much as our munchkins would have let us), we walked to Starbucks, we walked and got the girls a toy, we went swimming, we had lunch and then before we knew it, it was time to head back to Chengdu (this is where I would have/should have/could have headed back to Chengdu about 3 - 4 hours earlier than we did). ^
^ sunset train ride. ^
^ one of the happier moments on our 4 hour trip back to Chengdu (just know that I should have gotten that girl in the purple dress her own seat - and she won't let me forget it!). ^

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Weekend in Xi'an | Part I

We had a great weekend in Xi'an. There are a few things we would have done differently, but overall it was a great little weekend trip from Chengdu (especially now that they have the high speed train and it is easy peasy to get there). We took a 5:30 train to Xi'an and arrived a little after 9:30. The one thing I would have done differently is to arrive both ways (there and back) at their bedtimes which is 8pm.  We try to be flexible on vacation, but everyone operates better when these two are tucked in by 8pm. The other thing I would have done is buy Everly her own seat on the train. This was a little tricky because there were only 3 first class tickets on the way there, but on the way home, I definitely should have "splurged" and gotten Everly her own seat. And by splurge, I mean spend $30. Seriously, what was I thinking?!?!

^ a little ice cream in the train station before we left because we found a Dairy Queen!! ^
^ no pictures of the train ride, perhaps I was too overwhelmed?, but by the time we made it to our hotel it was past 10pm and we tried to collapse into bed (although the air conditioning wasn't working that well in the hotel room so no one slept that well). anyways, that was a long introduction to tell you that we asked our tour guide to drive us by a Starbucks before we headed to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. it was more than needed. ^
^ in the car ride, we got the history of the Terra Cotta Warriors from our tour guide. p.s. Wes found this tour company online and it was a very well spent $200 for them to take us around all day in an air conditioned, private van. and she spoke English. and she loved the girls. it was really a great tour. anyways, if you are wondering about the history, there was a ruler who came into power when he was 13. a few years later, he wanted to take over the other six rulers to unite China so one by one he killed them and united China into one country (money, language, etc.). he was very worried about being protected in the afterlife so he had a team of people build these terra cotta warriors to protect his tomb. because he didn't want anyone to know about it, he killed all the people working on this project when it was complete (this part of the story was a bit much for the girls to take in). he later was poisoned and buried not too far from the terra cotta warriors. years later, a farmer was digging a well and discovered a terra cotta warrior. since then a lot of work has been done by archaeologists from all around the world and has become of of China's main tourism draws. I do have to say, the story is fascinating and it was surreal to see in real life. you can not imagine the size of these pits.^

^ it is actually about an hour outside of Xi'an so when we got there the girls burned off some energy before we went to explore. ^
^ our first stop was the bronze horse. ^
^ I don't have many pictures, and I am just going to be truthful, there were a gazillion people in this small space and we popped in and out very quickly. ^
^ we went to pit two first and were awestruck at the size. ^

^ you can see part of the horse and the soldier that was uncovered. ^

^ this is what protected the terra cotta warriors - they believe there are more under those roofs. ^
^ gigantic. they have left this pit largely untouched. ^
^ our sweet tour guide, Rosa. ^
^ another benefit of a tour guide - family pictures! ^
^ on the right hand side of the pit, they have several soldiers and horses that have been put back together. ^
^ the details were fascinating. ^
^ these sweet girls have gotten to explore several really cool places. ^

^ Emma was taking some pictures for herself. ^

^ Everly wanted to pose like the terra cotta warrior. ^
^ we ran out of cameras to pass out so she settled for using her tablet to get some of her own pictures. ^

^ our guide was explaining to us that their hair tells us about their rank. ^
^ this is one of the few that they have been able to preserve the original color on. ^
^ next, we headed to pit three which is the smallest of the three pits. ^

^ here, they had reassembled the terra cotta warriors (some complete and some not complete). ^

^ then we moved on to the most famous (and my favorite pit), pit one. ^
^ love this picture the tour guide got of us ;). ^

^ this pit was exactly what I thought it would be like. ^

^ rows and rows and rows of soldiers and not one of them like the other. ^

^ at the very last spot, the crowds were crazy huge! we stepped out just as quickly as we thought about stepping in ;). ^
^ outside, the girls found a cool place to run out their wiggles. ^
^ love this picture of Evsie's. ^

^ tree huggers. one, quite literally speaking. ^
^ our guide took us to a place to eat, we figured the girls wouldn't eat much so we picked up some watermelon for them on the way. ^
^ they moved their watermelon party across the street. ^

^ Wes and I ate a delicious bowl of noodles and a Chinese hamburger! ^

^ while I went to go buy Emma and Everly a kite to fly later that afternoon on the city wall, Wes caught a picture of the girls playing leap frog :). and me walking back :). it was a great morning in Xi'an. ^