After seeing the giant panda's our next destination was Xian and the world famous Terra-cotta Warriors!
We took a night train from Chengdu, and as with all forms of Chinese transport, it was inevitably delayed! The worst thing was that the train made it all the way to the city and then proceeded to crawl from the outskirts in!
However... We made it, and luckily took a relatively short walk to our hostel. The hostel was one of the nicest we'd stayed in throughout China, a huge old complex of archways, court yards and buildings. The bar was really nice and the pool room out the back was reminiscent of an old fashion English snooker hall! Good table as well!
As with all cities we took a walk around town to see what it had to offer. Working our way further East, the food took a big improvement from other areas, most notably a local favourite of cooked meat in crusty rolls and cold noodles with vinegar, both really nice!
The city had a Chinese Muslim quarter which was absolutely crazy! Shops, food stalls, restaurants and thousands of people. Butchers worked on the side of the street and the smell and smoke from all the BBQ's and open ovens was really cool. We would end up spending a good few hours just wondering the streets and taking it all in.
The day we visited the Terra-cotta Warriors it didn't disappoint! The site is split into 3 main areas, one housing the huge main army, the others either housing smaller remains or an excavation area that was still being worked on. The emperor's funeral chariots were also in a viewing room, amazing sight. Made from gold and bronze with horses, funeral carts, riders and everything in between.
The army is over 2000 years old and consists of over 6000 terra-cotta Warriors. Each warrior was made individually as if matched to real people. Each is human height, each has a different facial expression and each is wearing different clothes or holding different weapons depending on the type of solider they were.
The soldiers range from infantry, to archers, to cavalry, officers and generals with each representing a size dependant on real military tactics of the time.
The army was discovered by farmers in the 1970's completely by mistake and as so many years had passed the army had to be painstakingly rebuilt by archeological teams and scientists! The excavation site is huge and will take years to fully complete.
It was probably the busiest of all the touristy places we'd visited in China but well worth it. All the more amazing when the age and complexity was learnt and that it only even came to our knowledge so recently.
After our return from the terra-cotta army, that night we got randomly chatting to a Mexican lad in our dorm and he turned out to be a great laugh. Strange to meet a Mexican travelling, especially outside of Latin America and one that had done a very similar trip to ours in Asia! Ended up being a really late, but funny night and a great end to Xian!
The next trip would be our final night train in China and we had the luxury of a 'soft sleeper' cabin to Beijing!