The Summer Palace to Xian
and the Terra Cotta Warriors
There is nothing like a park on a lake and the Summer Palace is the perfect place to spend a weekend afternoon walking through the gardens, boating on the lake, or taking in the spectacular view of the marble boat. We went on a Tuesday afternoon and while warm and hazy, it was still a wonderful visit.
In China, you can tell what gender a lion is by what is under the front paw. If you see a globe or ball, then it is a male. If it is a baby lion cub upside down (with its feet in the air), then it is the mother and female.
This Bronze bull at the end of the lake at the Summer Palace will bring whoever visits it good luck.
The Marble Boat is what the Summer Palace is all about. People everywhere come to see it and marvel at the audacity of the Empress who took the money intended for the rebuilding of the Navy to build this personal pleasure craft that would never move.
From Beijing, we took the overnight train to Xian. Xian is one of the old capitals of China from centuries past and is an important cultural and historical site. Famous for the Terra Cotta Warriors, it is also home to some impressive sights including the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The train ride was through some beautiful countryside and we were blessed with first class accommodations. Only two of us to the car.
One of my favorite places in China was the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. A Buddhist temple is was the most peaceful and quiet place we visited on the entire trip. The monks do a wonderful job of keeping the grounds clean and tidy and there were very few tourists.
The Tang Dynasty Show was a very colorful event with many costumes. At this show, we had a 27 course dumpling banquet.
One of the interesting museums we visited in Xian was the Banpo Museum dedicated to the Banpo people that lived in the region nearly 5,000 years ago. It showed how they lived, who they were, and what their lives were all about.
Xian is much like many of China's other large cities. The population of 6 million unfortunately make for very hazy skies. Like other cities, it once had a massive wall surrounding the city but unlike other cities, this wall is still standing and in excellent condition. It is massive, I think you could drive two semi-trailer trucks side by side along the top of the wall.
The Terra Cotta army discovery just a few years ago is what makes Xian famous to the world. You have to see them to be truly amazed at the restoration effort that is going on here. Every one of these pieces were broken up when found and the people working here have done miracles to put them all back together. An ongoing project, it will take years to complete.
So, from here, now On To Wuhan and the Yangtze River Journey.

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