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Day 6 - April 3

posted Apr 3, 2013, 10:42 AM by Luciano Barbieri   [ updated Apr 3, 2013, 10:42 AM ]
Ni hao again!

We checked out of our Beijing hotel this morning, and visited the Temple of Heaven.  

Before seeing the Temple, we did a tai-chi class on the beautiful grounds (after enjoying some Chinese hackysack or watching street performers play a harmonica quintet and dance).  The tai-chi was a relaxing workout, which I know sounds like an oxymoron.  

We visited the Temple which is the largest wooden structure in China.  The entire site is over 250 acres, three times larger than even the Forbidden City.  There were classes of elementary students visiting there, and it was fun to see them playing games and jumping around - kids are kids wherever you go in the world.  

We then visited the Hutong District, which is the old part of Beijing.  We enjoyed a rickshaw ride through the narrow streets and alleys, and then a family-style lunch at a local families' homes.  

We then drove to the train station and got on a high speed "bullet" train to Xi'an.  Xi'an is literally in the centre of China ("only" 8 million people in this city, compared to the 19 million in Beijing or 22 million in Shanghai), and the train ride was a smooth comfortable 6 hour ride - many of us took a nap, myself included.  I think the top speed of the train was 304 km/h at one point. 

We are now at the Titan Times Hotel in Xi'an, and we have large beautiful rooms - a 5 star hotel, one of the nicest I've ever stayed in. 

Tomorrow we visit the Big Pagoda (Xi'an was the capital of China over 800 years ago), and the large military wall that surrounds the city - we'll even get to take a 8.5 mile bicycle ride around the wall.

Diego Bechthold