China trip – Beijing to Xi’an

Beijing Drum Tower
Beijing Drum Tower

I just got back from my vacation last week. It’s the first time in quite a while that I have gone very far afield so I decided to share a few photos here.
I arrived in Beijing but just stayed long enough to enjoy one evening in a busy hutong and then meet some friends the next morning as they were finishing their China trip before I headed off by train to Zhengzhou.

Zhengzhou - park with haze
Zhengzhou – park with haze

Zhengzhou is not my favourite place in China. It is a useful travel hub with lot of high speed trains coming and going to various destinations. However even this less than lovely city manages to have a large and leafy park serving as much needed lungs for the populace. It was very well used anytime I visited it from very early morning to late evening.

Shaolin Temple view
Shaolin Temple view

From Zhengzhou it is a short bus ride to Shaolin Temple – famous both for kung fu and for being the site where Buddhism entered China. Although crawling with tourists even more than when I was there 15 years ago, one can still get glimpses back in time… blinkers required!

Shaolin Temple detail
Shaolin Temple detail

If you’re in the mood, you can try out some exercises as illustrated right on the architecture!

Xi'an - terracotta warriors and horses
Xi’an – terracotta warriors and horses

After doubling back to that hub Zhengzhou, we went to Xi’an. Last time I was in China it seemed too far but now the high speed train takes you there in just 3 hours – 300 km per hour!! The terracotta warriors were fascinating, impressive and also appalling when you consider the megalomaniacal mind behind the whole thing.

Xi'an - beautifully sculpted terracotta horses
Xi’an – beautifully sculpted terracotta horses

And for the end of this segment one of my favourite shots… perfect horses ready for parade in any era – very life-like!

I will continue with the next leg of the trip soon!

photos (cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer