Sorry in the delay of the final instalment of my China trip, Christmas and New Year kind of got in the way so here I am with the final instalment.
On my last post I mentioned that I was moving onto Xian , the home of the famous terracotta warriors and this for me was one of the most amazing and breath-taking things that I saw in China. I didn’t know what to expect to be honest as I had read a bit about the history of the warriors and knew the basics. Xian was the original capital of China and the starting point of the famous Silk road. The warriors are a fairly new finding in the ground scheme of things and were accidentally undiscovered by a local farmer digging to build a well for his family in 1974.
Here he broke into a pit which would later be unearthed as the site of over 7,000 terracotta warriors. The warriors were part of an army built to protect the emperor Qin Shi Huang in his afterlife.
I didn’t realise that a lot of these warriors were unearthed smashed to pieces and have been painstakingly rebuilt by the onsite architects working there today to bring them back to their full glory. I also didn’t realise they were actually originally painted in bright reds ,yellows and purples and the architects are now working hard on finding a way to keep the warriors restored to their true original state as they lose this colour once excavated.
When you first arrive at the warriors you are underwhelmed as it looks very modern and consists of three large aircraft hangar type buildings. It is a UNESCO world heritage site so obviously has been built this way for tourists to enjoy these sites for years to come and for the restorations to carry on. When you walk into the first building though and you see the rows and rows as far as the eye can see of these warriors then it truly does take your breath away.
The art and shear craftsmanship that the people making them had to have and such a long time ago is unbelievable and it really makes you wonder what it must have been like to be part of that lifetime and the commitment and loyalty they had to their emperor. The warriors are each individual and unique and a lot larger the I thought.
The history and information all around the site is great as well as you read all about warriors and the background and you also can see pictures of lots of famous faces that have visited such as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair etc.
The final destination of my trip was Chengdu, which is a large modern city but still has the charms of the old China with the City wall still bordering around the edges. Again another great highlight was the visit out to Leshan to see the Grand Buddah which is the largest Buddah in the world.
Story has it that he was built into the side of the hillside to protect the fisherman of the evil spirits in the river below. Pathways are cut out so you can walk right up to the side of him but on our trip we took a riverboat cruise and sailed past him and round which was a great way to see him in all his glory.
We were told that many years ago it was known as good luck to go and sit on his big toe and this would bring good health and happiness to your family. They no longer do this …maybe health and safety reasons!!!
On the last day in China we were in for a treat as it what a lot of us had been waiting for and that was to visit the Pandas!!. We were taken to the Chengdu Panda reserve where you could see the Pandas ranging from tiny little babies at three months old, the teenager’s and the adults.
It was very surreal to see them up close in real life and they were so cute you just wanted to go up and give them a big squeeze. I must say they are very very docile and lazy and slumbering about not doing too much (much like normal teenagers). I did catch on film a Panda taking a stroll up to his little wooden play area and strike a pose for the crowd so that was pretty special.
You can wonder round the park at your own leisure and see the Pandas in their different ages and stages of development but as you can imagine there was a bit of a que to see the baby Pandas. They were all fast asleep in a little wooden cot and honestly if I could have snook one in my handbag then I would of.
Wendy Wu really made this trip for me. I have organised tours for people before and they have decided to put a few things together independently themselves while in China which is fine but if you really want to be fully immersed in the history and the culture and be swamped with information about China then you cannot beat a trip with these organises Chiana specialists, Wendy Wu. They make it so enjoyable and special I came away from China feeling like I had really seen a good chunk of the highlights of the Country and what it was all about it.