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Published: September 16th 2012
The view of Nan Dajie, The main street in Pingyao
Pingyao is an ancient Chinese city surrounded by the original walls built over 1000 years ago. Only one section of wall had to be rebuilt after a portion collapsed a few years ago. We wanted to spend some time in Pingyao mainly to break up our long trip from Beijing to Xi'an and unwind after seeing Beijing.
Once we arrived, we checked into our hostel and, as usual, hit the streets. The main streets are lined with vendors that at first glance appear to have fantastic genuine Chinese relics. Old chess boards, coins, tools etc. blew us away until we realized every store has the exact same things and they weren't really as old as they looked. There was also an abundance of stone carvings, jade jewlery/statues, and tour groups.
Pingyao really is beautiful. We escaped the busy main streets to wander for hours around the cobblestone alleys in search for the most unique door or windowframe. We past many crumbling classic chinese homes, and street corners filled with old men playing mahjong or ladys gossiping the latest news. Getting away from the tourists is so important for us. We were glad we could find calmer quiet sections of
An old shop front closed up for the day
the city to explore and that is where we were most comfortable. The less touristy areas are also where we found the best restaurants or noddle and dumpling stalls.
Pingyao was only our second city in China (if you don't count Hong Kong) and we are still getting into the swing of things. Over night trains is a new way to get around for us and we have found that is requires different planning. We took an over night train to Pingyao and checked in to our hostel for three nights without realizing just how much time that was. We had 4 full days in Pingyao and that was far too much. There wasn't much to do in the city and we didn't want to spend a lot of money joining tours of the sights that surround the city.
Due to our poor planning we weren't able to get sleeper births on the train leaving Pingyao either and had to settles for the cheaper 'hard seat' class. Luckily the car was full of fun young locals to hang out with before an extremely uncomfortable "sleep". Every day we are learning! China is very different from Indonesia and we
View from Central Tower II
A view of the main street in Pingyao, facing north
are adapting quickly.
Leaving Pingyao we headed further southwest to China's former capital Xi'an (Chang'an) where we would see the famous Terracotta Wariors.
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