Tag Archives: 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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First Days in China

It has been a rather long time since my last blog post and yeah, I’ve been really lazy it seems! But fear no longer as I am back now with some spare time on my hands just for this blog. The main reason for my hiatus was actually our holiday in China which lasted nearly a month and also few exhausting weeks battling with taxations once again. Right now we even have the joy of surviving dear Chinese mother-in-law as she arrived yesterday.

MIL’s dancing group

 

This first blog post after such long break will be rather uneventful as it will be just about the first days in China during our holidays there. Unbelievable but true this trip has been our first real holidays in nearly two years! I guess you can imagine how exhausted you can get with work without any holidays for such long time so we were very excited. However as we are running our own business work did not stop with us going to holidays and thus we had few working days even in China.

Finally good food!

So what you do after such long time without holidays once you arrive in Xi’an? Go eat! The first few days we went to each one of our favorite restaurants, it just felt so good to be able to eat those wonderful dishes again. Well, we loved it but my father was not that fond about Liangpi 凉皮 (cold noodles) and few other dishes we devoured. However we usually found a good compromise and he got something he liked each day, in fact he stated later that this holiday to China was the best of them all as he really liked the food during the entire trip. Besides eating we went for many walks around the neighbourhood and I could not help myself to take few more pictures of the area and building where my in-laws live. My father feels always reminded how Germany looked like after WWII when going through that area in the city center of Xi’an. It appears that standard maintenance is unheard of in parts of China.

Just to the left there you shall find the entrance to my in-laws building

 

The first week in China was more like getting used to having holidays again and doing few sightseeing tours around the city. Even though we had started there our holidays it did not really feel real. Xi’an had changed once again a lot in just two years and just had a different “vibe” compared to before. My father liked this new feeling to the city especially as car drivers suddenly stop for pedestrians (scooter riders will still try to kill you) and that everything is much cleaner now as there are hundreds of people going around each day collecting trash in the city center with a bucket and pick-up tools.

What a boring blog post!

 

 

What was the longest period you went without holidays?

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Another Trip to China

Yes, we will be travelling to China this year again. We haven’t been there since 2016, the year my father joined us there and we had the awesome City Tour Extreme . We did not visit China last year as Nathalie was just born in summer and we did not feel like travelling anywhere by plane with her (afterall she is the Thundergoat). This holiday in April/ May  is something we have been planning ever since last year. Not only because my father will be once again with us and additionally we will have two kids to entertain but we will be also travelling to Japan!

Soon again at the airport

Okay, Japan is like 90% certain as we are still waiting to get the visa for my wife. Turns out the whole process is a bit annoying for Chinese when travelling not with a tour group. Thankfully we had a wonderful person giving us advice at the embassy on what to do in order to make the application much easier for us. Japan is a country we wanted to visit for so many years as even nearly did so on few occasion. We did not manage to do so as each time something got in the way such as unfriendly embassy staff telling us in Finland it is impossible for Chinese to enter their country without a tour group  in 2014 to being just not healthy enough back in 2015. So right now the only thing stopping us is not to get a visa for my wife (or she just gets too lazy again to travel once we arrive in China).

How much luggage we will have this time?

My wife has been planning the entire trip for the past two months now and has a small folder with all the details! We will be flying from Xi’an to Tokyo spend few days there and then travel to Osaka for another few days before flying from there directly back to Xi’an. Within Tokyo we have not really planned anything yet as we just don’t know what to do there. However while there we will visit the nearby Studio Ghibli Museum and Thomas Land (that idea I got from Eleventh Monkey as little Babel is also a huge Thomas fan as Nathan). We hope that my wife’s cousin will have a bit time to show us around Tokyo as she has been living there for nearly ten years. In Osaka we will be doing standard sightseeing as that city is a must see in Japan according to basically everyone I know. I would have loved to visit the Nature Aquarium as I am a huge fan of the late Takashi Amano and his work but Niigata is just too far away from our two destinations.

No Nature Aquarium for me this time 😦

Except the trip to Japan we do not plan anything big in China itself. We definitely will have a photoshoot for the kids, similar to the one we had 2015 for Nathan. I guess we will be doing our standard sightseeing around Xi’an with my dad and I plan on eating as much different food as possible there! Besides those little things I hope we will have another trip to the Qin Mountains or some other countryside visitation just to get out of the city and all the pollution. I do wonder how well my father will manage this trip as he will turn 77 this year. One thing he told me already, he wants to go to gym during the holidays in China in order to stay in shape for his bicycle competitions during the summer time in Finland. Guess he is the most active person from all of us.

One of the dishes I need to eat!!!

Have you planned your holidays for this year already?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

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