Today was the day we got to see the Terracotta Warriors! This was what I researched for my pre-departure presentation, so I was excited to finally see it in real life. For this, we had to get up pretty early since this is such a popular (and therefore extremely busy) site to see in China and we wanted to try and avoid the crowd as much as we could. We came at a really good time actually; it was obviously still very busy but most of the crowd had arrived there slightly after us so most of the time the worst part of the crowd was just a little bit behind our group.
There were a few different pits that we were able to look at, and the first pit we started at has the most intact warriors. It was so incredible to see all of the thousands of soldiers lined up, knowing that each of them has a unique facial expression. I thought it was insane that less than 50 years ago, all of these soldiers were completely hidden underground until the farmer who owned the property was digging a well and accidentally discovered the soldiers. Sometimes the farmer is there at the site in Xi’an and you can shake his hand, but our tour guide was sad to tell us that he wasn’t here today.
The next pit we saw had less finished soldiers than the first one, but it was really cool to see the broken pieces and how the archaeologists are still working to put them back together. In the last pit we saw, the soldiers hadn’t been excavated yet in order to try to preserve their color.
After the three pits we went to the room that had the bronze chariots and bronze horses, which our tour guide referred to as “the emperor’s BMW.”
We were all so tired after the warrior visit, the bus was basically silent on the way to the city wall because we all fell asleep. We woke up to the sound of our tour guide’s voice telling us to get ready to bike 20 kilometers (or about 9 miles). Keep in mind, it was 90 degrees out and very sunny today. Regardless of the hot weather, I was really excited to bike.
We started in a pack but as time went on we started to split up into smaller groups. The views were beautiful from on top of the wall and the breeze you got from biking was really nice and balanced with the intense sun. I thoroughly enjoyed myself biking along the city wall so I only stopped to get water and go inside a store for a few minutes to get some air conditioning. Biking on the wall was a really unique experience that I’m so happy I got to have, and being the first one to finish felt pretty good too.
Getting back to the hotel was great because all of us just desperately needed to shower after that bike ride. We met Dr. Li in the lobby around dinner time and made our way back to the Muslim Quarter to get dinner at a restaurant recommended by Dr. Li himself. We all trusted him to order for us so he got all of us the same famous Xi’an soup that had lamb, little bread cubes, and noodles in it. The soups came out one at a time, so we all sat around the table patiently waiting for our turn – it was definitely worth the wait though! The bread cubes were my favorite part of the soup, and I was thankful that Dr. Li had brought us to that restaurant and ordered the soups for us because I don’t think I would have picked it out on my own.
Once we finished dinner we split off into smaller groups and did some more shopping in the Muslim Quarter. I bought a set of chopsticks and also had a delicious mango smoothie at Mango Kingdom. We didn’t stay out too late because tomorrow we’re taking the train to Shanghai, which I’m extremely excited to see!