Today was a special kind of day. Today was the day of climbing Hua Shan, one of China’s most famous mountains.
I woke up early, met up with Peter who I had met the day before and agreed to accompany, and went to the train station. Peter already bought his ticket the day before, so we took the train at 10… A bit late, but nothing to be done by now. The train ride, finding a bus, getting to the right entrance and buying tickets took such a long time that we didn’t start the climb until about 1 pm. Talk about unfortunate planning… Tickets also cost 80 rmb (10 Euro). Extortion, really.
The hike up was a welcome physical activity. The path itself ranged from some very beautiful scenery to some of the worst crimes done to nature. We were also accompanied by cats for a bit.
What makes Hua Shan the worthy climb it is, are the steep steep stairs carved into rock. There were 70 degree stairs for over a hundred metres and even stairs that had more in common with ladders for short distances. It was fun, especially because I enjoyed the company of Peter.
Sadly, we only reached the North peak at around 5 pm, so we didn’t have time to walk to the plank I’m the sky, which kind of was our goal. We took the cable car down, since it was starting to get dark, and found our way to a bus back to Xi’an.
Xi’An is a great city with much good food and many attractions. In the city centre I visited the Drum and Bell towers, each names, as one can guess, because they hold many giant drums or bells respectively. They have performances in the morning and afternoon, but I got unlucky and visited during noon and didn’t want to wait so long, so I sadly missed them.
South of the wall is a park with the little wild goose tower and a museum. The tower looked pretty but the price to climb it was ridiculously expensive, so I stayed on the safe ground and only looked up. The museum was free, but didn’t contain anything what one cannot find in other city museums.
Back to the important parts: food. Xi’An has some great food. I had burger/kebab like thingies from a street stand. You choose you own ingredients and they fry or grill them in front of you before putting them in a bun. Mmmmhhh, so tasty!
I also went to a restaurant with Peter, a guy I met in Beijing and found again in my hostel here in Xi’An. The restaurant was to the east of the south gate. They had a BBQ station set up outside, but you got served inside – best of both worlds! For a meager 5 Euros or so, we both got a beer, many different BBQ meat sticks, grilled leak (amazing!) and grilled eggplant with lots and lots of garlic on top (I had dreams of this eggplant afterwards).