From Beijing to Xi’an: First evening in Xi’An

As you might have followed my previous blogposts about my trip to Beijing and my 3 days there, you know that the city was a very exhausting one. There is no denying it, that it is beautiful, has a lot of culture and history and I saw so many different things I couldn’t have seen anywhere else, I can be sure that I would never want to live in this city, even if the smog disappeared one day. This also doesn’t mean that I dislike big cities, quite the contrary actually, I really love big cities. I am in love with Shanghai for example, and I could seriously imagine living there, but Beijing was something different. It’s nice for a trip, but that’s all.

If you have missed the posts, you can read about them here:

Arrival | Day One: Great Wall |Day Two: Forbidden City

When I woke up on my fourth day in Beijing, I took my bags, checked out and headed to the train station to catch my early train to Xi’An. The train station was smaller than expected and super busy. There were almost more foreigners than chinese people. I also saw like three travel groups full with german people.

Taking trains in China is so convenient and the prices are pretty good. Way cheaper than the trains here in Germany. That’s one of the things that I miss the most about China.

Anyway, I arrived in Xi’An in the late afternoon. By the time my taxi driver took me to my hostel it was almost early evening. While I was on the train and on the taxi, I was texting my friend Qiqi, who lives in Xi’An. I met her on my travels to Suzhou in September as I posted on this blogpost, and I promised her to visit her in Xi’An before I left China.

She told me that her friend would pick me up and show me around town until she made it out of work.

By the time I got my things inside my dorm room which was huge by the way and very clean and almost empty (only 2 other people with me there), Qiqi’s friend texted me that he arrived and waited in the lobby for me. We planned to go visit the Drum Tower and Bell Tower and then go to the Muslim Street Food Square. I was starving, so this was a great idea.

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This guy was legit fire spitting in front of the Bell Tower
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Drum Tower

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It was really nice of him to show me around. His english was also quite good, so he could do a little bit of translation between Qiqi and me. Qiqi’s english was around the same level as my chinese. We somehow managed to communicate, even if it was just through smiles, gestures and hugs. But it was nice to somehow be able to communicate with her through her friend.

The Muslim Square actually blew my mind. It was my favourite part about Xi’An, and I would love to return just for the food sold there. They have everything from Kebap, Nut Candies, Muslim noodles, soups, pita-like breads, Fruits, Juices, Milk drinks, Fried stuff, just EVERYTHING! I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t know where to look at and what to eat.

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This is how the nut candy is made. The white stuff is a sugar mixture they use for any kind of candy. It was very relaxing to watch this. 

We sat down at a traditional restaurant that sold soups and meat. My friend told me that this place was a very old family restaurant, and all the locals knew about it. I ordered a normal noodle soup, my friend ordered the spicy version and he also ordered a dish made of intestines. He didn’t know that I don’t like intestines, but I tried to see how it tasted. I definitely didn’t like it :D But he appreciated that I tried.

The food was delicious. We continued to roam around the streets a little bit more. I found a stand with the pita-style bread and bought one. It looked yummy, but it tasted a little bit dry.

Then I saw something fried. It was dough filled with vegetables and it looked sooooo yummy! We ordered some, shared it, but could only eat a little bit since it was really oily.

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The Street Food market has a lot to offer. I was so full after only 3 dishes, that I could neither eat nor drink anything. I regret not having tried the pomegranate juice and the milk drinks that are really famous here.

I still wanted to buy some boxes of the nut candy though. I love them and I wanted to bring them to Germany so I bought two boxes, one with sesame and one natural.

After that, we finally went to meet Qiqi. She came with our friend’s car which was a Jeep. We then drove to the Wild Goose Pagoda, another famous sight in Xi’An.

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The Wild Goose Pagoda does have its charm when it’s dark

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Bascially, on that first evening, I saw all the famous sights you can see inside of the city of Xi’An.

We took a lot of pictures there, walked around the square, and even found a park which had funny sculptures to pose with.

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One of the few nice pictures of me that day. I looked just so tired and exhausted, that I didn’t want to upload the pictures showing me in the park. 

It’s one of the best things you can do during your travels: Hanging out with locals who can show you around.

Unfortunately, it was getting quite late already, and I was feeling really sleepy. I had an early start and I had to wake up early the next morning as well, to go see the Terracotta Warriors.

Have you guys ever been to Xi’An? And let me know about your favourite street food you ever had.

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille

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ABC Travel List: N – New Zealand, New York, Namib Sand Sea

This letter was surprisingly easy, quite different from its neighbour M for which I needed several minutes to decide upon a destination to choose for the blogpost.

Let’s start with easy N then!

N

1.Country: New Zealand

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Source: gadvenventures.com

New Zealand looks like the most perfect fusion between metropolitan city life and nomadic wild life in nature. These two extremes are the main reasons I am so drawn to this place currently. Of course, it is probably the destination that is the farthest to reach from Europe, but one day I’m gonna make it to New Zealand.

-Sub-Antarctic Islands

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Source: whc.unesco.org

I read about this site and thought that I’d have to see this, especially since it is quite hard to see the Antarctic, it should at least be easier to visit the kind of calmer version.

-Hobbiton

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Source: NewZealand.com

This is the place that everyone who knows Lord of the Rings and loves travelling, has to visit at least once in their life. I wouldn’t consider myself a die-hard fan of the movies, but I really enjoyed them a lot, and even attempted to read the books. I just love movies, and everything revolving around doing them is so interesting. And I love travelling and taking pictures, so of course this place has to be on my list.

-New Chums Beach, Coromandel Peninsula

Source: cntravels.com

Going to the beach when down under is a must-do, especially when you get offered views like this one.

I am sure there are a hundred more things to do in New Zealand, but for now, I wanna concentrate on these activities, before the blog post gets too long, since the next place is a very known one, with a lot of activities to do.

2.City: New York

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Source: usa.sae.edu

The typical NYC skyline photo, of course. It’s a must when talking about this city, or going there.

-Times Square and the Lowering of the Ball

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One of my all-time wishes is to go and see New York during Christmas and New Years time. All the movies and pictures about that time of the year are so iconical and have shaped my childhood so much, that I have to cross it off my bucket list.

-Rockefeller Center

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Source: timeout.com

Another must-do during the Christmas season in NYC. This sight is probably one of the most popular ones used in American movies and TV shows that it has been ingrained to my mind so much, that I would even consider ice-skating here, althoug I hate it :’D

-Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock

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Source: zoernig.de

Going up the ESB is a must-do to check off your New York travel list. I mean, look at the view that you get from up there.

-Street Food/Fusion Food

Source: buzzfeed.com

To be honest, eating all the fusion food (Ice-cream cookies, Kimchi Tacos, Waffles on stick, Pizza Langos, and more) that you can find in New york is one of the main reasons I wanna go to New York, because that’s one of the cities where this kind of food is developed first.

-Central Park

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Source: planetware.com

Everywhere I go, I look for the fascinating contrast between nature and concrete. I loved it in Hong Kong and Frankfurt, New York surely is not different.

-Statue of Liberty

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Source: usatipps.de

The Statue of Liberty, the symbol of American Independence, 4th of July which is also my birthday, so spending my birthday in New York would be another little big dream of mine :D

-Brooklyn

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For me, this is the real New York. I’d definitely try to book my accomodation in this area.

-Little Italy

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Source: kenkaminsky.photoshelter.com

Did someone say The Godfather? Well, Little Italy has to be included, since I love italian food, and where, apart from Italy itself, can you find the best pasta and pizza?

-Chinatown

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Source: keywordteam.net

After being in China, I would like to see China from the perspective of another city.

I will stop here, before this post gets too long.

3.UNESCO World Heritage Site: Namib Sand Sea

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Source: blog.travelnliving.com

Doesn’t this look endlessly beautiful? Literally, two endless-seeming, opposite ecosystems crashing into each other. Ocean bordering into the desert, this gotta be my new dream destination.

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Source: atlasobscura.com

In my opinion, this post had many classic spots, as well as new ideas.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What places with N would you like to visit? Let me know!

Thanks for reading and travelling with me.

Merveille.