I’ve finally have some time to jot down the happenings from day 3 in Xi’an so here it is! We actually woke up pretty early (about 6 am) planning to head to 华山 (hua shan). But when we headed to Xi’an North railway station to buy our express train tickets to Huashan North, we realised most of the tickets were sold out and the earliest time we could get out of Xi’an was around 10 am. So we decided to just buy our train tickets for the next day (will talk more about it in the next post) before heading back to Xi’an.
At Xi’an, it was definitely one of the hottest days when we were there (or maybe because we were exploring the city as the sun rose to its peak). In any case, one should drop by the ancient city wall when you’re in the city. The wall was first constructed in the old Tang Dynasty and was completed in the Ming Dynasty! In fact, it’s the most complete fortification which, has survived into modern China! That’s pretty impressive!
If you’re staying in the central area (i.e somewhere near the bell tower), the closest gate to you would be the South (永宁: yong ning) gate. Entrance ticket to the wall is 54 yuan. This gives you access to all four gates which, is accessible to the public. Although you can combine this with a visit to the forest of stone steles museum for 100 yuan. P.S. The term “yong ning”does not mean south. It’s just the name given to the South gate.
What can you do on this wall? To be honest, it’s actually a pretty boring place if you’re gonna stay for long. Even if you end up renting a bike (and I don’t think it’s a good bike since I see many struggling to ride theirs), you’re just going round the wall looking at bricks, more bricks and an endless road.
The road from the wall leading to the Bell tower. And the smog that covers the city is just reminding me of the horrendous haze in Singapore. My eyes are practically irritated 24/7 and all our lungs are working OT to make up for the horrible air.
Just look at the crowd when you ascend the wall at young ning gate O.O! On a side note, I can actually sort of understand the Chinese women preference for a big floppy hat and umbrella. It’s a good way to combat the horrible heat.
As you walk further towards the West (安定: an ding) gate, the crowd lessens and you can grab a picture of the people-less wall. P.S. The term “an ding” does not mean west. It’s just the name of the West gate.
Finally, after marching on the endless road, we approached the bend to the West gate. Here’s a different view of the West gate (on the right) as I peeked through the gaps along the wall.
After which we chilled at a cafe before walking back to vicinity of the Bell tower for some lunch/dinner at de fa chang (德發長) restaurant. If you can spot the signboard hanging on the building with Chinese-style lanterns adorning it, the restaurant is on the 1st level in the building. FYI: the Chinese characters on the signboard are written in the reverse direction from what I’ve typed above. This is actually my favourite food place in Xi’an. I wouldn’t say restaurant as most of the staff there are not the most friendly beings on Earth and look as if they would rather be somewhere else.
Address: No. 3 Zhong gu lou Plaza West Street, Lianhu district, Xi’an
I’ve read some conflicting comments regarding the food quality here. But at least for the dumplings (饺子: jiao zi) I’ve tried, dumplings with pork filling, which is how it’s traditionally made (猪肉饺子: zhu rou jiao zi) and fish filling dumplings (鱼肉饺子: yu rou jiao zi), as well as a cold noodle dish, they were all delicious. It’s neither oily or overtly heavy in terms of their seasoning. Everything was just right. The only thing I could complain about was that they should’ve give us more ginger for the dumplings but that’s me being stupid. Haha, dipping dumplings into vinegar with some ginger — that’s the best way to eat them! When you’re there, you should definitely also try out their hawthorn drink (山楂水: shan zha shui) – a refreshing and sightly tangy cold drink on a hot summer day, and the freshly prepared warm soya milk (豆花水: duo hua shui).
The Friday late evening crowd, lol. It got more and more crowded as the night falls and temporary road side stalls were set up.