Holiday in Inner Mongolia and Xi’an
It’s been a while since my last blog. So what news do I have today?
Last week we made it a bit further away from Zhuhai. It was our holiday and we had two destinations: Inner Mongolia and Xi’an.
For Inner Mongolia, which was the first stop, we didn’t have many plans. The only thing I really wanted was to finally sit on a horse back again. After arriving in the hotel in Hohhot (Inner Mongolia’s capital) we walked through the city to do some sightseeing. We saw the old town, a nice mosque and a palace and visited a park.
But quickly we noticed that Hohhot is not the most beautiful city and made plans to find a tourist center to book a trip to the grasslands. In the end with the help of a Chinese guy, we could make a booking for a trip of two days – although we were not very sure what exactly was included because the description was all in Chinese.
The next morning at 7:30 we were picked up by a mini-bus which then took us 3 hours out of the city to the grasslands. As soon as we arrived the doors of the car was opened by some traditionally dressed women who were offering us some wine. Then we were taken to the horses. We joined a small group of Chinese tourists on a 2 hours ride through the grasslands during which we had a break and tried the traditional Mongolian milk tea and some milk candies and dried meat. It was a very sunny and hot that day and soon we burned our skin a little. After returning we went to a big tent in which we were served a Mongolian lunch. The Mongolian women who were offering us the drinks before were now singing traditional songs and were walking through the tent offering drinks again. Next we went to the traditional Mongolian tent which we were to sleep in that night for a short rest. In the early evening we were invited to watch some horsemen wrestle and then it was already time for dinner. A typical dish for this region is lamb and sure it was served during dinner. Before the serving the personnel was singing again until one of the visitors of the camp then was allowed to cut the lamb after putting on traditional clothes.
At night there was a small party with a firework. We were thinking of pushing a cow but didn’t do it in the end.
The next morning we had breakfast at six (yes, six!! Strange holiday, hm?). Right after we hopped back into the mini-bus which we thought was taking us back to Hohhot. But somehow the road didn’t look like the one from the day before and when we finally stopped we realized that they brought us to the desert! We put on some sexy sand socks and a Jeep then took us into the desert driving through the dunes what was a lot of fun. We landed at a place surrounded by a fence where camels were already waiting for us. I never rode a camel before and I must say it’s a pretty strange feeling. And camels look quite funny as well. So I had a lot of fun during that ride.
Next were Quads with which we cruised through the dunes and after that we slid down a high and steep dune on boards. The final activity was a cable slide and then we were hungry enough for lunch.
A final group picture later we got on the road again.
This time we really went to Hohhot. But our trip was not over. The final destination was a huge factory where tourist articles were produced. We had a short guided tour and then could buy all kinds of articles from silver products like bracelets and tea sets, over leather and horn products to candies and dried meat.
Finally we took a cab to the Airport to take the plane which would bring us to Xi’an, China’s ancient capital. Once in Xi’an, it was already past midnight, we went directly to the hotel to sleep. The following day we explored Xi’an’s old town which is surrounded by a big city wall. There were many old and traditional buildings and the weather was great. We visited different markets and had coffee on a rooftop. In the evening we went to a street where they sold a lot of different street food and we did our best to try everything. My personal favorite was a yellow rice cake with a sweet sauce. On that street they were also making different candies. I was impressed by this beautiful and traditional city. Everything was in walking distance, we didn’t see many tourists and the sphere in the whole city was amazing.
On our second day we got up early and went to the bus station to take a 2-hours bus to the father of Chinese mountains: Mountain Huashan. Unfortunately the weather was not too good when we arrived and so the sight we had from this more than 2,000 meters-high mountain wasn’t as impressive as we hoped for. Still it was possible to shoot some ‘misty-mountain pictures’. It was quite a challenge for my being afraid of height-self to climb the mountain. First we took a gondola up and then the climb with many different, steep stairs was awaiting us. On this mountain they have a number of temples, hotels and restaurants and at many spots you can buy ‘lucky locks’ and medals saying how high you climbed. To climb the whole mountain it takes around two days and some routes are very dangerous – we didn’t take those.
As you can imagine we were very hungry and tired so we went to a very nice Xi’an restaurant and enjoyed a very nice dinner before going to the hotel for a rest. Later that night we went out to see Xi’an’s nightlife. They have many very cozy bars with life music and a romantic atmosphere. Again I was amazed by the city. Definitely worth a visit if you have the chance.
Our final destination were the legendary Terracotta Warriors. Again we took a bus which took 2 hours. Once arrived we visited a museum and then went on to the first pit.
I actually, after seeing certain movies including these terracotta guys, expected something huge and impressive but the outcome was rather boring. There was a gallery from which you could look down on the warriors and some signs explained what weapons they were carrying.
In the afternoon we made our way back to Xi’an and then to the airport. It was only a 6-days holiday but summing up what we did and saw it sounds more like 2 weeks. I think it was a very successful trip and I can only recommend to visit Xi’an – see the old town and if you dare climb Mountain Huashan. If you do maybe you would like to see the sunrise from the East Peak?
See you and 再见，
Gianna aka Gini aka 吉娜
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