Sightseeing in Xi’an

We have been multiple times in Xi’an and visited each time some new locations. The most we saw back in 2011 during our first holiday there when my parents were both visiting. Over the years I developed a better understanding about the city compared to my wife who grew up there. She is kind of resisting in learning anything new about her home town and she has zero sense of direction thus making every place we visit new to her even though we had been there before. So how to decide what places to show when friends are coming for a weekend visit?

Peaceful times at the Guangren Temple

Those friends are all from my wife as they were together in the same dormitory when studying in Finland during their first year (in Kajaani to be precise, my wife moved later to Helsinki). All those friends kept close contact over the years even though some moved back to China, others stayed in Finland and we moved to Germany.  Now when we had our holiday in April/ May in China and some of them decided to come over for a visit. All of those friends married and got kids so we had a bit bigger group coming over which required some good planning. My wife had grand plans for her friends, very grand plans. They all failed.

View from the City Wall

They did not fail because of not putting enough heart and time in them. No they failed because my wife didn’t consider two things. First of all she has zero sense of direction and has no clue at all how long it takes to go to some location and second of all she did not consider that her friends mess up plans completletly each time, every single time and are always, really always late. Because of this mess we only saw few sightseeing spots such as the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda with the Fountain show, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, the City Wall, the Muslim Quarter, Guangren Temple, Qinglong Temple, the City God Temple and few other temples of which I have no clue about theirnames any longer.

Some Booze at the Guangren Temple

Just to show you why all planning failed I give you two examples. The complete lack of any kind of sense of direction of my wife lead to a rather embarrassing failure. She had the grand plan of going with all people to the City Wall, walk a bit on it till we reach the city center and go eating in some famous restaurant. You see the City Wall goes all around the old city center and is roughly 14km long.  So we entered the City Wall at the West Gate where my in-laws live. For some unknown reason my wife had the idea that you could walk on the city wall straight to the old city center (note it still goes all around, not through the city…). She had this plan also while facing 36 Degrees Celsius and walking together with little kids. Needless to say everyone gave up after not even managing 800m on the wall (out of the needed 5km on the wall and further 2km walking to the restaurant) and going to eat in some small restaurant near the wall entrance.

#Nathancuty just like a real German tourist, Sandals and Socks! (plus Adidas Shirt)

Now to the problem how her friends mess up plans each time and are always late. On the second day we planned to meet up at 10 in the morning to take a little walk and eat at a restaurant famous for Liangpi. Shortly before we arrived they called us that they just woke up and bought some beef noodles for breakfast. For breakfast! By the time everyone was ready to move it was already 12 and all of them were too full to go eating for the next hours leaving my wife, Nathan and me starving. You might say something like this can happen from time to time but this actually happens each time we meet them (also during our short Finland trip this summer, but that is stuff for another blog article).

Even though nearly everything went wrong what could have gone wrong we still had a great time with them. It was really nice to meet them again and their kids. Sure there were frustrating moments but living each year 3 months with MIL made me kind of immune to such things.

Do you have friends who are always late or mess up all your planning?

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20 thoughts on “Sightseeing in Xi’an”

  1. My family is filled with type A planners. We drive the spouses hosting reunions insane with question way in advance of the event.

    And then there’s Andy’s family. Changing plans at the last minute. Showing up 30 minutes, or an hour, or 2 hours late. Maddening.

    1. I have the feeling that my wife’s entire Chinese family has to be late at all costs. When we are supposed to meet at 1pm they don’t even start leaving their home at that time or made some totally new plans on their own!

  2. For friends, just 1 friend tends to be ie……half an hr. or even hr. “late”. But then she’s driving a car, so I can’t bitch too much.

  3. Very nice pictures! Travelling or simply going out with a lot of people tends to be a mess I think… one person or another always has a problem, needs to do something else or is late for some reason! And I imagine it is even worse with children and their last moment surprises, hahaha.

    1. It is just insane when trying to plan for so many people. It is already stressful enough to plan anything when only MIL is involved!
      I don’t know how and why but many pictures turned out well on that trip 🙂

  4. I know how frustrating it can be when making plans with a big group and it doesn’t go as well as planned! Xi’an really looks like a city worth visiting. It’s funny how you seem to have a better idea of the city than your wife who grew there hehe.
    I’d love to see more of China, I have only been to Guangzhou for a day on layover – but it was really interesting to say the least. What I didn’t enjoy were the enormous crowds of people everywhere. Nathan is growing fast!

  5. Is your wife turning into MIL… Agree with what Marta said about big group outings. Usually something will come up with someone. I’m a stickler for punctuality and being organised, but my friends mostly aren’t that way. For some friends, meeting at 6pm means they will be one or two hours late…drives me insane. Any last minute changes I start to think the whole day will go wrong.

    1. I recently just joked about her turning into her mom 😀
      With most of my wife’s friends you can also say like: meet at 3pm but actually better plan for 5pm as they won’t even leave by 3

      1. If your wife is indeed turning into MIL, then you need to be like FIL 😀 I have no idea why some people like to show up so late…it’s like how do they have all the time in the world…

  6. I try to plan in advance as much as possible, to maximize my time. It’s so frustrating when friends and family don’t feel the same way, and they are either late or disorganized. I also try to have back-ups if possible for when things don’t go right. You’ll have to thank your MIL for helping you be more patient in difficult situations!

  7. Oh no, that’s too bad there were so many fails on the trip. I’ve always wanted to go to Xi’an and see the warriors, hope it was still worth it for you!

    1. I think I’m getting used to such fails. By now I do not even expect plans to work at all! So it is always a wonderful surprise when something does work out just as hoped/ planned.
      Xi’an is really wonderful and there is so much to see besides the Warriors (in fact I didnt like it that much but I went there in July summer heat with thousands of tourists there…)

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