Tag Archives: Xi’an

Why I love to travel to China

It is just in the middle of March but I look already forward to our next trip to China in the end of August. 2013 was the last time we were in China and we also celebrated our Chinese wedding in a small circle of relatives and friends (watch out, sarcasm). Last year we could not travel to visit my in-laws as we had too much on our hands with little Nathan and moving to Germany.

Got to love the food


So why I am looking forward to travel to China or to be more specific to Xi’an? Most people would not really look forward to meet their in-laws again after having their mother-in-law at their place for three months but right now this is just a small minus point in my opinion. In Xi’an alone are so many places I want to revisit, take more video material and pictures. Furthermore I was promised (as so many times before though) to visit the relatives in the country side in Shaanxi. We are also planning a trip to Jeju Island and I really hope all those travel plans will actually work out as none had in the previous years!

But what am I really looking forward to? First of all Xi’an is a great city in my opinion. There are just so many interesting historical buildings within the city center where my in-laws are living which give great opportunities for taking pictures and perhaps also few time lapse shots with my new Flow-Mow. Then there is the food, just thinking about it makes me drool! There are so many restaurants I want to go to such as my favorite BBQ restaurant few minutes walking distance away. Besides when being too lazy to walk few minutes to the next restaurant there are still dozens of street kitchens just downstairs. As you can see, there will be never a problem to get any good food unlike here where we have barely any restaurants around.

Xi’an City Center


But then again there are few things which really do stop my enthusiasm about those weeks in China. First of all is the pollution with all the smog in the city and surrounding area. Back in 2013 we had zero days in nearly three weeks of our stay with blue sky or sunshine. Everyday it was just smog and some more smog. Then there is the general attitude of not using trash bins. Everywhere people just throw their trash on the ground and even litter animals enclosures in zoo’s or nature reserves.  What else is getting sometimes on my nerves is the complete lack of manners of some people. I think I do not need to go too deep into details as the this behaviour has been described more than enough already in other blogs. I know that you will find rude people all over the world but especially in China I have sometimes the feeling that there is an exceptional amount of people with an attitude like “First me and then the rest of you low cretins”.

Barely can see the mountains which are just few hundred meters away…


But all in all I am still looking forward to this trip even though there is still nearly half-year waiting time ahead. For now I will have to make due with the videos and pictures I have from the previous years. Also all those blogs about their travel adventures keep my mind away from the daily boredom at work and the current cold weather. Perhaps also the fact that I just got once again a year older makes me want to escape the routine which we have in everyday life and get out to relax for a few weeks.


Are you also looking forward to your next holiday abroad? Do you also think about the negative points during your holidays?

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Terracotta Army

Back in 2011 when my parents visited for their  first time China we decided to take a look at the famous Terracotta Army.  During the week my parents were in China we tried to see as much as possible around Xi’an. It was certainly not easy as my parents are not the youngest anymore but they tried their best.  The excavation site with the museum is located in Lintong District, Xi’an. As we stayed in the city center it took us about 45min by car to get to the famous place.

My Dad the Terracotta Warrior


During that day we had staggering +39 degrees celsius ~102 degrees fahrenheit. For unknown reasons we had the whole week already blue sky and hence less smog to protect us from the intensely burning sun. Nearly all of my memories from that trip are actually all about getting from one place with air-condition to the next without spending too much time outside.

Before we actually went to see the terracotta warriors we made a short stop at a workshop which focused not only one copying terracotta warriors but also making and reconstructing old Chinese furniture. Even though the whole place was basically a tourist trap we enjoyed it there as we did not go as a tourist group but with some family friends who know some people who know someone so we could actually skip the shops and concentrate on the art and have alook behind the scenes in that workshop. It was really interesting to see how they “copied” terracotta warriors but also how they custom designed few of them by modeling the faces according to some wishes of paying customers. Furthermore we could watch how they made a lacquer table and the many steps were explained to us. The place was filled with wonderful furniture and I actually would have bought tons of it in case money and luggage space wouldn’t be an issue…

So much furniture and decoration!


After that we finally set out for the terracotta warriors. Even though it was so terrible hot it was still filled with tourists. The hardest part for us was the trip from the car, through the entrance, following the near endless path to the main museum buildings. Though in retrospect the way was perhaps only a 15min walk it still felt like hours. To make matters worse there were several places selling stinky tofu. The heat and the smell was near overkill for me and my parents, my wife actually enjoyed it though.

In the end we managed it to reach the main area. As my mind was badly effected by the heat and the stinky tofu I can not tell you anymore the exact layout except that there were several buildings and pits. We visited first the biggest building which was a museum with a collection of the artifacts found in that area. Needless to say it was packed with people and it was hard to take any pictures without any head poking into the camera. The best part for me was of course the fact that the air condition kept me away from the melting point. There were so many rooms to visit in that building that it took us a long time to go through it. In this case a tour guide would have been nice but it was also nice to be more flexible and set our own pace.

Pit 1

After watching countless of artifacts we managed to go to Pit 1.  There are several Pits in various sizes but Pit 1 is probably most famous as it is just huge and has rows after rows of the terracotta warriors standing guard. I only have a few pictures as I was more concerned on video taping everything with my other camera while trying to survive the heat, yes the heat, as there was no air condition in that huge hall resulting also that we tried to hurry around and be done with it.

All in all I can say that visiting the terracotta army is a must when staying for some time in Xi’an but it is certainly not my favorite place. All the information you can get there about the past is certainly great but somehow I just could not enjoy it, it might be also due to the fact that I was near a heat stroke and thus my recollection of that day is messed up.

For more information about the Terracotta Army simply check out what Wikipedia as to say about it.


Have you visited the Terracotta Army already? What are the places you would love to visit in China?

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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.