Xi'an Travel Blog› entry 34 of 111 › view all entries
We arrived in Xiâ€™an (pronounced She-ann) around lunchtime as the train was delayed for about an hour.
We were collected from the train station (free pickup service) and taken to our hostel, which was about a 7 minute drive away.
Getting picked up sounds like laziness, and perhaps â€śhardcore travellersâ€ť would say itâ€™s against the idea of independent travel, but if someone is offering to collect you and your luggage for free after a long day/night travelling, saving you being ripped off by taxi drivers/getting lost in a new city, youâ€™re stupid to say no. (Most Hostel International hostels tend to offer free pickup from nearby bus/train stations)
Anyway, we found our room, which was okay - twin beds, en suite, air con, TV and fantastic view over the gateway to the Muslim Quarter.
Xiâ€™an is a walled city, like many Chinese cities were, but the walls there are still intact. You can walk the circumference of the city walls within about 3 hours, which gives you an indication of how small the city is.
After enjoying our coffees and playing a game or two or pool, we headed out to explore. The hostel is located just next to the Muslim Quarter, so we headed there first. The area is very old, and as the name suggests, there are lots of mosques and Muslim street snack stalls and so on.
It was very quaint but bustling and bright, with fairy lights intertwined with the tree branches twinkling like stars, brightly coloured dried fruit displayed on tables, the cacophony of tens of vendors promoting their goods, and the mouth-watering smell of spicy barbequed meats of all kinds. A sensual overload!
We headed back to our hostel for the night and had another good nights sleep.