Our guide book said that history buffs could easily spend a week in Xi'an and we could easily have spent much longer but, alas, we had to limit our stay. We decided to tick off the biggest attraction in Xi'an first so we definitely didn't miss it: the Terracotta Warriors. There were plenty of tours going here with guided tour and all but we opted for the public transport route, as per usual, and it was easy peasy! One bus to the train station then another from there to the warriors. The bus to the warriors was even the tourist bus (for the Chinese tourists, not us whiteys!) that was still only 7Y one way, a fraction of the price of the tour. We got there and followed the guide book and a fellow travellers advice and went to pit 2 and pit 3 first as these were the least impressive. Pit 2 was the least excavated and just had a lot of broken bits os the warriors in. It was interesting to see what the archeologists had to start with. The next pit, pit 3, had some fully intact warriors in and was the admistrative hub of the warriors (the officers and such). Finally we went to pit 1 and were immediately in a giant crowd of people. We managed to fight our way to te front for our first glimpse of the infamous Terracotta warrior and were awestruck. Seeing pictures just doesn't do them justice. The are dozens of them all in neat rows facing you. Some had stern faces but some had smiles and one even had a massive grin. We walked all the way around having a real good look at them, glancing smugly at all the tour groups being rushed though. We took lots and lots pictures and finally came away. We had a quick look round the museum which housed some more warriors and showed the difference between the warriors (officers, troops, etc) and also had the bronze horse and carriage with a warrior that was on our ticket. We were a bit disappointed to find that they were only a third of life size.
Finally we headed back to Xi'an and after a quick freshen up went to the muslim quarter for some shopping. The muslim quarter in Xi'an is a positive cornucopia of souvenirs and we didn't know where to start. In the end we bought almost all our presents and a few bits for our selves.
The next day we headed out to have a look at the Big Goose Pagoda. We dicided not to go in and have a look around the complex but took a few pictures from the outside. We went back and just had a general wander round the close sights. We had a look at the city walls which are impressive as they are the original walls (with a bit of restoration) and still look like they could keep out any roaming hordes. Then we went to the Drum and Bell Tower which are both very beautiful from the outside and were truly stunning on the inside. They had elaborate wooden beams, all criss crossing, which were painted in wonderful bright coloured patterns. They both had lots of examples of drums and bells respectively.
The next day we headed to the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi, which one fellow traveller told us was impossible to get to on public transport and in the end payed 300Y on a taxi there. We succeeded where he failed, and don't really know how he failed! It was a bit difficult as you had to get the bus to another stop, cross over, then get a connecting bus to the tomb. The trick was that there were only 3 of the connecting buses a day, but the one we got was perfectly on time. The fellow traveller had also told us that it was massive and he didn't see all of it, but on arrival we found it was only on massive tomb and a museum which could easily be done in a couple of hours. We first went around the tomb which was all underground and had glass walk ways all across it. It was very impresive, very similar to the Terracotta Warriors, but miniature. They were all lined up in rows and here you could even see the remains of wheels from carts. My favourite bit was the rows upon rows of farm animals, such as ox, pigs, piglets, horses and goats complete with little beards! It was absolutely baking hot at the sight so after looking for and failing to find the museum we sat in the shade and had an ice cream and after a bit I realised there was a golf cart looking bus that kept coming and going which I decided must have been a shuttle bus to the museum. By the time we realised however our bus back was imminent and we didn't want to wait in the scorching sun again so just got on the bus. There was a woman who had gone there and when we looked at her ticket saw you had to get another ticket into the museum. The tomb was expensive enough so we were glad we didn't go there as well. We got back to the hostel and recovered from the heat for the afternoon.
The next day was equally hot and after a failed attempt at looking for the Forest of Stelae, home to a tablet containing the earliest record of Christianity in China, we chilled before our 12 hour train to Beijing.