Jingning To Xiâ€™an
Well, Fall has arrived here in Northern China and we have been enjoying the cool air, the different coloured leaves and the harvesting of billions of apples. Due to the generosity of many local villagers, we have also been enjoying eating the apples too. But with the Fall comes the rain, and a few of the previous days of riding have been rather wet. Although most people don’t love to climb, we enjoyed all the climbs on our way here to Xi’an (many of which compared to the killer hills in Turkey). It is all flat roads the rest of the way to Beijing.
Unfortunately we have also entered into a world of smog, even in the country villages. Usually we witness smog hovering over a city like a blanket of smoke off in the distance, but here it is everywhere – often right in front of your face like a heavy fog. At first sight, you think that it is a cloudy and overcast day but, no clouds or fog, just smog.
We entered into the ancient city of Xi’an two days ago with much anticipation. Everyone was ready for a well deserved double rest day but they were also excited about exploring such a huge and historically important city. The inner portion of the city is contained within the confines of a huge wall built over a thousand years ago and reaching over 12 meters tall, 15 meters in thickness with a total length of 13 kilometres!! The city has 4 major entrances, one each on the North, East, South and West walls. If that was not enough to keep anyone from entering the city in the past, there is also a big moat surrounding the outside perimeter of the city wall. The weather was not good. It was smoggy along with consistent rain throughout the whole day and late into the evening.
Today, we all headed out of the city to check out the eighth wonder of the world, the famous terracotta soldiers. This site was found by a local farmer in 1974 while digging a well and houses the 50 sq km tomb of the first Chinese emperor of the Qin dynasty. Over 7000 life sized clay soldiers and their horses have been excavated and still stand guard. They were built by over 750,000 men approx 250 years B.C. These soldiers, all of which have different bodies, faces and army ranks were built to guard and protect the emperor in the
We will be back on the road in the morning to cover another 100+ kilometres, each one bringing us that much closer to Beijing. Only 12 more days to go!! Where have the last three and a half months gone?