I didn’t sleep well on this sleeper train, not so for the kids, they slept like angels. The big two in their own beds and Gil … well he is sleeping with me. This train rattled constantly. It may have been that we were sleeping directly over the wheels, I’m not sure, but it was definitely a rougher ride than our first sleeper train.
After arriving an hour late we were met by our guide Jim. Collecting us from the train, he suggested he’d take us to our hotel for a shower as he’d called ahead and arranged a very early check-in for us! We were all much more spritely after a shower.
The Terracotta Warriors, I hadn’t known, were built by the first Emperor of China during his own lifetime. The intention was to create an army around the Emperor’s tomb so that in his death they would protect him during the afterlife. Since being discovered by farmers in the 1970’s warriors, chariots and horses have been uncovered. Each warrior’s face is unique and they stand between 170cm – 2m tall. There is thought to be in excess of 6000 in the largest of the three excavated sites. And there are some 54 more sites which will be excavated over the next 100 years, culminating in excavation of the tomb of the Emperor.
Each of the warriors was intricately decorated and painted but upon exposure to air the colours fade and flake off. It is for this reason, and the sheer amount of work required to excavate and repair damaged figures that thousands remain buried. It was awe inspiring to see the size and scale of the armies, and to think we are only looking at a fraction of what was created.
This part of our trip seemed hardest for me. That said I am glad we inculded to Xian in our trip.