Xian during National week
We stayed in Xian 8 nights. It was the history of the city and the Terracotta Warriors that drew us here but in the end (mostly to avoid crowds), we just spent time doing very little sightseeing. We relaxed, enjoyed good food and its people.
We did venture out on the 5th night to see the famous Drum Tower, Bell Tower and area. It was exciting to be part of such a large crowd but as we neared the Muslim street, it was so crazily packed, we did not last long - a few bites then wandered off.
We did return to the Muslim Quarter another day when Mr. Zhang told us of his favourite dumpling place. He did not know the name but just gave us an approximate direction and we found it!
With Mr. Zhang's help, we could basically go anywhere on the bus. It cost 1-2 yuan per person so for our family it's just $1-2 total per ride. Near the end, on the rainiest day, we never got off the bus! We just rode it til the end and back again before going for dumplings. The inside of the wall is very commercial and modern. We're glad to have stayed outside of it. While we were looking for the dumpling spot, we ventured far in the areas where there was less traffic. The kids enjoyed sliding in the wide walkways!
There was a day where we ended up walking another 20000+ steps in search of pagodas and museums!
We did not stay long. It was a pleasant enough stroll around but it really was quite packed and busy closer to the pagoda. We tried going to the nearby Shaanxi History Museum but the line up was a few blocks long so we continued walking...
The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was quite far away but the walk was worth it as the Pagoda with its park was quite nice. The Xian Museum was a good size and we got our history lesson! We also discovered a market nearby where the prices were insanely low. There was a lady who stopped to speak with us because she has never seen foreigners there before and wondered if we were lost.... the reward of aimless walking.
It was even harder leaving Xian. We were just beginning to scratch it's surface and wanting more. Deeper friendships, time for our favourite markets and streets, navigating with familiarity, more history. If i was to plan this year of travel again. It would be minimum a month each place. That only gives us 12 destinations. Perhaps one continent per year then. Let's see how this changes our plans Feb onward.