Arriving to an illuminated night view of Xian was breathtaking. Then to be checked in to the Grand Noble Hotel, our expectations just kept rising. It was very much like an InterContinental hotel.
We got on great guns with our delightful guide Emma and driver Roy. Roy had spent 5 years in Wanganui, New Zealand but still couldn’t speak a word of English, yet we all laughed incessantly. Emma checked us in immediately to RenRenJu for dinner around the corner and we had a delicious meal of two meat stirfries, obligatory green bean dish; which we never tired of or the local beer. Breakfast the next day was amazing and of high quality.
The next day we drove to visit The Terracotta Warriors which was mind-blowing. Only discovered in 1974, we got to visit all of the three huge displays. Emma’s narrative was much appreciated and her English was perfect. This was definitely well worth a visit. Lunch was fabulous afterwards, recommended by China Odyssey, however we found it unusual that the guide and driver ate separately from us, apparently this was the norm.
We later walked the Ancient City Walls of Xian and visited the Small Goose Pagoda. Both were amazing. The weather was awesome also. We squeezed in some shopping and flagged dinner as we were still full from lunch.
Feeling sad on our last day in Xian, we made the most of every minute. We were taken to the local Muslim market and on to the Grand Mosque then back through the food side of the market. The mosque was stunning and it’s great that they continue to restore parts constantly to keep buildings in prime condition. Despite a big breakfast, I just couldn’t go past trying a Chinese lamb burger. Emma insisted on treating us and hubby had half. The shredded lamb and sauce was divine.
Before we were taken to the train station, Emma and Roy knew that we wanted to visit New Zealand’s very first, newly opened Mojo cafe. Wellington Mayor attended the opening on 12 September so we just had to ‘get in behind’. The staff were lovely and had a good command of English. It was very large and decorated with cool white subway tiles and sold NZ wine, takeaway beans, as well as very trendy, Western food. We treated Emma and Roy to a latte and the takeout cups and carry bag were so cute. Unfortunately it just tasted like hot milk so we should have gone for long blacks or maybe they only serve single shots. Coffee is starting to become trendy in China but is not there by a long shot (excuse the pun) just yet. Filter coffee in the hotels though was very good.
So long Xian, we will hold you near and dear in our hearts forever. Next stop – Beijing.