Welcome to Xian
As the train shuffles west from Beijing, the landscape changes from verdant, to dusty. Loess blows into this region from the Gobi Desert. From the train, you spot cave dwellings constructed in the soft hillsides.
Xian was the Chinese captital during the Qin dynasty. As in Nanjing, the emporers were buried in enormous tombs, testaments of their power.
Dust and coal smoke fill the city air. You take a peak at the Terra Cotta Soldiers in the burial vault. By this time, you're starting to loose interest in these huge tourist sites. The more popular the site, the more junk will be sold. The guards here won't even let you snap a photo, so that you're obliged to buy one in the gift shop.
It's time to strike out on your own a little. You buy your next ticket and head south to Chengdu to see some of the forests of Sichuan province.
Jump to any of the main stops in China by clicking on the links below