Our first full day in Xi'an...we had a lie-in and enjoyed a big breakfast in the traveller's cafe at our hostel. Then we headed to explore the city...our first stop were the ancient city walls, built in 1370 during the Ming dynasty. Xi'an is one of the four cities in China where the city walls are still standing and their total perimeter is 14km! We planned to walk around part of the walls, and went to the South Gate to get onto the top. When we got up there, we found the bike rental tent and decided to go for a bike ride around them instead! We spent a couple of hours cycling from the South Gate to the North Gate, stopping regularly to take photos of the fantastic views over the city. The walls were wide and easy to ride on and gave us a good workout which we wouldn't have got if we'd been lazy and taken the electronic golf cart around!
Back on the ground we walked south towards the centre of the city and its famous Bell Tower. The streets were busy but not overcrowded like Nanning, and Westerners didn't seem to be such a rare sight! At the Bell Tower we bought a joint ticket that includes the Drum Tower and headed up the stairs to the top. Again, we got some brilliant photos of the view towards the South Gate and we managed to catch a performance of the bell ringing, which was quite impressive!
We decided to leave the Drum Tower until tomorrow as we were quite tired after our ride, so we headed back to the hostel. In the evening, we walked to the nearby 'Bar Street' for an early dinner of dumplings and Singapore Noodles as we were starving. Most of the bars were still setting up for later as we ate. Back at the hostel, we went to the bar underneath our hostel. Again, it was dead and the beer was expensive so we went back to the traveller's cafe where the beer was cheaper until the bar got busier! We went back about 10pm and enjoyed some live music there. By this time, the bar was packed with locals enjoying themselves, including a table who were playing what l9ooked like Yahtzee! We were also impressed with the big red button on our table that we could use the summon the waitress!
After a busy day and night, we didn't have far to walk to get back - just up the stairs to the hostel!