31 Aug - 05 Sep 2012 Xian

Shaanxi Province
Zhu Que Gate
Zi Fengyuan Youth Hostel +862987262670 zfyhostel2012@163.com
Stylish, clean and spacious twin room with wifi, a/c and private bathroom for CNY 138.- or US$ 21.70 per night. Very friendly, helpful and competent staff. 15% discount for members of the Konni & Matt Travel Blog.
Beer: 600-ml bottles of ice-cold and pale Hans Dry Lager Beer (4.0 % alc./vol.) for a decent CNY 3.50 or US$ 0.55 from the friendly hostel.

Click below for an interactive satellite view of the Zi Fengyuan Youth Hostel, which we would highly recommend, and for directions:
Note the random 0 - 500 m misalignment between Google’s maps and satellite views of the motherland, courtesy of the paranoid Chinese Communist Party.

Saluting emperor Quin Shi Huang’s, China’s first unifier for over two millennia, impressive subterranean army of more than 7,000 life-sized terracotta warriors lined up in battle formation (tourist bus from the bus stop east of  Xian’s train station for CNY 7.- per person; admission: CNY 150.- or US$ 24.- per person), nowadays an inflated UNESCO World Heritage Site and a relentless money printing press which works like a clockwork for the Chinese Communist Party, attempting to fathom the timeless expressions of the silent warriors and noticing that no two soldier’s faces are alike but could roughly be classified into seven distinctive (personality) types of superbly sculpted faces: (i) the 国-shaped facial structure which is characterised by a rectangle face with high cheekbones, a wide forehead and cheek, (ii) the 用-shaped facial structure which is marked by an oblong face with flat cheeks and chin; (iii) the 目-shaped facial structure which is basically a narrow and long face with very fine/small features; (iv) the -shaped facial structure which consists of a nearly square-shaped face; (v) the -shaped facial structure which has a wide top and narrow bottom, like the shape of a melon seed; (vi) the -shaped facial structure which is characterised by a rather long face with a narrow forehead and wide chin and  (vii) the -shaped facial structure with wide cheekbones and narrow ends.
“You think you know someone by looking at his face but what can one face say about the thousand thoughts behind those eyes.”
“We came to realise - first with astonishment, then bitterness, and finally with indifference - that intellect apparently wasn't the most important thing ... not ideas, but the system; not freedom, but drill. We had joined up with enthusiasm and with good will; but they did everything to knock that out of us.”

Testing en-route the vegetarian cornerstones of Xian’s famous cuisine aka Qin Cuisine: (i) ubiquitous cold sesame noodles aka majiang liangpi which consist of thick rice noodles mixed with fresh vegetables and/or bean sprouts topped with tart vinegar and sesame, (ii) fragrant vegetarian Shaanxi-style hamburgers aka caijiamo, a kind of toasted wheat-flour flat bread stuffed with fried soft tofu, various cooked and uncooked veggies and spices, and (iii) crispy fried noodles, served with shaved-turnip salad, a traditional snack in Xian originated from the Tang Dynasty, which is noted for its sophisticated cooking techniques, delicious flavour and unique appearance.

Taking one of the regular tourist buses from the bus stop east of Xian’s train station to Hua Shan Village (125 km, 2 ¼ hours, CNY 22.- or US$ 3.50 per person), thereafter hiking the meandering scenic Walker’s Trail (6 km, 4 ½ hours; admission: a steep CNY 180.- or US$ 28.50 per person, no senior-citizen discount, +869134361979) to Mt. Hua Shan’s North Peak aka Bei Feng (altitude: 1,615 m above sea level), one of Taoism’s five sacred mountains in China, and contemplating life during a spectacular sunset over transcendent panoramas of green mountains and countryside stretching to the horizon.

Click below for more blog posts about some easy hiking trails in Asia
15 Jan 2014 Kenting
26 Sep - 04 Oct 2013 Sintang
03 Sep - 13 Sep 2013 Singkawang
04 Jun - 07 Jun 2013 Jeju Island
01 Feb - 17 Feb 2013 Batu Ferringhi

Click below for a summary of this year's travels
2012 Map Konni & Matt 

Visit the Konni & Matt Online Albums and order high-res travel photos

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