It has to be said, Xian was a pleasant surprise. After a couple of weeks of travelling around China, I was becoming slightly jaded and had lowered my expectations accordingly. However, after another overnight train we reached the sunny, warm and almost accepting city of Xian. I say almost, there were still the usual stares and glares but not so many as we had experienced down South.
We took the bus to the visit the Terracotta Army based outside of Xian. I was amazed and overwhelmed by the scale of it all. Breathtaking and awesome in fact! This was true Chinese history that we had come to see, and not some man-made tourist attraction as we had come across time and time again in China unfortunately.
We spent the next day wandering around the city, eating street food, haggling at the market and catching the local busses. It all felt very comfortable, maybe we were getting used to it by now. We had planned to go and walk around the city walls and take in the views, but when we reached the steps to go up, we came face to face with the ticket office and a sign saying 'The price of a scenic view in Xian will cost...'. Unfortunately by now in China, we had realised that nothing is free and that many things have been commercialised. We decided that we would not pay the £8 to go around the city walls, but spend the same amount on the entrance fee for the Great Wall of China instead when we reached Beijing, and when we get home to Chester, we'll go for a walk around our 'own' walls for free!