Out of all the cities in China I have visited, I loved Xi’an for its unique historical aurora. But then again, my last visit to China was seven years ago, so maybe it isn’t fair for me to judge. I took this trip to the historical capital with my uni friends.

On the first day, we visited the Huaqing Pool, the bathing house of the Empress Yang Guifei. (If you go, definitely check out the free show explaining the history.) Then, we explored Mount Li, where Chiang Kai-shek was captured my the communists during the Cultural Revolution. (They portrayed his capture as peaceful.) Late in the day, we headed to the most famous attraction of Xi’an: the Terracotta Warriors. The pit was absolutely stunning, and something you have to see for yourself.

On the second day, we went to the Shaanxi Historic Museum which houses some old treasures of China. Following that, we visited the Big Goose Pagoda, where I learned a lot about Buddhism (and had spectacular architecture and views). In the evening, we biked around the city on the City Wall - a must do!

The third day, we headed outside of the city via the high-speed rail to Huashan National Park. The area was just beautiful, hence probably why it is often painted in Chinese paintings. It was a lot of hiking, and we almost missed the last cable car down. We were exhausted by the end of the day and went back to Muslim Street for dinner, where we had spend the previous two dinners already. But the street was close to our hostel and good for buying souvenirs.

On the fourth and final (half) day, we checked out the Forest of Steles, the rocks carved with the Chinese “classics” among others. We headed to the airport tiredly, with under 7 hours of sleep each night because we really wanted to pack in the sights. At security, we had a little hick-up as someone left pepper spray in their carry-on, and its illegal for civilians to have in China. That incident then resulted in them forgetting their laptop at security check. It went unnoticed till after the flight, and we spent a while getting everything sorted out (and still needs further sorting). Luckily, the laptop was found :) Guess sleeping so little is a terrible idea.

Through the trip, I learned a lot of history (necessary to appreciate the sights) and about my friends. Drama definitely can develop while spending several entire days with the same few people. I like to stay out of it though…

Originally posted on halfwayaroundtheworld.studentsgoneglobal.com.