Tag Archives: sightseeing in Xi’an

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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My Parents first trip to China

In the year of 2011 was my first visit to China. Nothing too special about that but it was also the first time (and only time thus far) that my parents visited China. Through this Guest Post by my wife you learned already few basics about my dear mother. As you can imagine the whole idea of visiting China was not a dream of my mother. She was scared of the country itself, the many people, the food, the hygiene, the plane, getting lost at the airport and did I mentioned the food before? My father on the other hand was really excited about this trip. He pretty much didn’tt care at all about all the things my mother was scared of except one thing, public toilets in China. My old man is not the youngest anymore, meaning that any kind of “squatting” his pretty much impossible for him.

Picture at the Drum Tower

Everything started during spring time when we had the great idea to have our engagement dinner in China, together with the whole family. As a joke my wife suggested that I should invite my parents as well. I kinda didn’t get the joke and actually asked my parents. My mom was shocked, and said she wouldn’t even board the plane and my father wanted to know the details already on the phone. Three months later my wife and I were waiting in Xi’an for my parents to arrive at the airport and of course my parents actually arrived without any harm (just a bit exhausted).

The entire trip to China was already an adventure worth writing a very own article about. Lets just say it involved them not being able to park the car at Helsinki airport, hearing their names mentioned through the airport announcements about gates being closed, having very noisy people on the plane, arriving at Beijing and being lost, mobile phone without service and thus not being able to call us for help, not being able to ask for help as they only speak German and Finnish,  a changed gate to Xi’an at Beijing airport and running all over Beijing airport…


Arrival in Xi’an

Anyways my parents arrived during late afternoon and were welcomed by my in-laws and family friends. Already during the first evening we had a program planned for them (even though they were pretty exhausted). We visited the fountain show at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda with a short tour around the surrounding area and of course a big dinner. As you can imagine dinner time meant horror time for my dear mother and MIL was not exactly helpful in this situation either as she just piled up more food on my mothers plate. Mom ate always bravely the plate empty, without having a clue what food it was, and MIL piled up more…



During the one week in Xi’an we visited together most of the main attraction such as the Terracotta Army, the Tang Paradise, Tang Dynasty Dinner & Show, Drum and Bell Tower and also the Muslim Quarter. My parents both got a new hairstyle plus massage at a hairdresser, a full body massage (my father with cupping) and a lot of food. For my mother at least one dream got fulfilled, she got a silk shirt tailored, something which is of course also possible in Europe but usually very very expensive.


Import_020I am not sure anymore what we all ate but it was very much. The engagement dinner was interesting as we had also Camel served which I didn’t mention to my parents until the dinner was done. Otherwise it was pretty uneventful, probably due to the exact planning by my wife who had an “activity plan” done already weeks before the trip. In the end we also spent one day in Beijing and did a little sightseeing tour. Beijing has mixed feelings when I think back due to the fact that we never could get any taxi and then we a wild “black taxi” trip back to the hotel.

In the end I can say that it was a nice trip but a bit too exhausting for my parents. We had too much in the program and it all involved walking around a great deal. To make it worse it was during Juli, meaning temperatures to make the asphalt on the streets melt. Furthermore my mother couldn’t handle the air-condition and ended up getting sick in the end and suffered the last day when flying from Xi’an to Beijing. For the next time they come to China (my mother doesn’t know about her luck yet) we have planned a much more relaxing holiday for them with trips to the nearby hot springs and it will be either during spring time or during autumn to escape the hot summer.