Xi'an Day 1
So there was some scepticism in both our families that we would be able to catch the correct train from the correct platform to get from Beijing to Xi’an. Well it was easy peasy. There were a few English translations here and there and it was easy to get the gist of where to go. At the train station we waited in a big waiting room and there was a big electronic board that would highlight the train that was boarding. It was a bit like being at the airport. When we got down to the platform it was the longest train I’ve ever seen. There must have been over 30 carriages. When we got to our room we were a little astonished. There was a little table and two set of bunk beds. We were supposed to be on the top bunks but two men from the cabin next to us asked us to swop as we were in a cabin with their mates. They gave us their bottom bunks in exchange. Result. The train was actually nicer than the hostel we stayed in and much comfier too. The train journey was 11 hours and cost us approx £40 each. One of the guys in our cabin went and bought us a beer, which was very kind, and then he talked for ages with James about the differences between China and England. He didn’t seem interested in talking to me, but I didn’t care I just wanted to go to sleep.
We arrived in Xian around 8:30am and first bought our tickets to Shanghai for Friday. Then we tried to negotiate our way through the masses of people and cars to get a cab to find our hostel. Getting a cab was almost impossible. Every time one pulled up someone would come out of nowhere and jump in. I then decided to up my game and tried to get the cab while the other people were still getting out. Unfortunately the two taxis I tried didn’t know where I wanted to go. I had a map so why they couldn’t read it I have no idea. Anyway in the end and with a very frustrated James, I made the decision to walk it. It took us about 15 minutes but with 20kg on your back it felt a lot longer. We got to the hostel and had agreed beforehand to look at the rooms before we committed ourselves to anything. The dorms looked ok, but when we saw the double room we thought we were in heaven. It was a palace compared to the last place. We immediately booked that room but it was only available for one night, so for the other two we are in a dorm. The hostel is very pleasant and has been rated 5th best out of 4000 no surprise really it’s clean, modern, cheap at 13 pounds a night and offers all sorts to do and see. On arrival we thought it was some kind of luxury spa and we both agree it makes Beijing look very poor value for money.
After freshening up we headed out to check out the city. We went to the bell tower and a few shops and market, then we headed back to the hostel to chill for the rest of the day. Our plans for the next couple of days are to visit the Terracotta Warriors, a Panda sanctuary and to go down the Yangtzee River.