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Published: October 31st 2010
Well, we survived our first overnight train in China. We managed to squeeze ourselves and our gear into a shaky 2-seater rickshaw that took us from our hotel to the train station in Xian. The train station was packed with people, but it was relatively easy to find the waiting area for our train since the numbers are all in english. We had two middle bunks in a 6-bed "hard-sleeper" berth. It was actually pretty comfortable and we managed to get a few hours of sleep along the way.
Pingyao is a Unesco World Heritage Site and its well preserved city walls date back to 1370. That's about all we can offer for a history lesson. We stayed at a nice hostel in the centre of the old city and spent our days walking the streets, sampling street food and taking photos. The city is much more touristy than we expected and while the old buildings are still in the classic style, the main streets contain nothing but hostels, hotels, restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. Still, its not nearly as busy as the main tourist attractions near Xian and we had a relaxing 3 days.
On our second day,
we hired bicycles and rode to the Shuanglin Temple which was 7km out of town. What a great way to see the countryside, though biking through the city was a bit scary at times with all the traffic. The temple was nearly deserted and the sculptures/statues are incredibly detailed. Unfortunately no photos were allowed inside the temples as seems to be the usual in China, but we can say that it is well worth the effort to go here.
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