Tuesday 28 June 2016

China Part 9..........

After an early breakfast we boarded our coach for our first stop of the day in Xi'an the City Wall.

Xi'an City Wall was erected in the 14th century Ming Dynasty, under the regime of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. When Zhu Yuanzhang captured Huizhou, long before the establishment of the Ming Dynasty, he was admonished by a hermit named Zhu Sheng, who told him to "build high walls, store abundant provisions and take your time in proclaiming yourself emperor", advice heeded by Zhu Yuanzhang.  The current city wall is an enhancement of the old Tang Dynasty structure, as a result of the emperor's wall building campaign.

There is a flanking tower every 120 meters. The flanking towers were built to allow soldiers to see enemies trying to climb the wall. The distance between the flanking towers is within the range of arrows fired from either side. This allowed soldiers to protect the entire wall without exposing themselves to the enemy. There are 98 flanking towers; each has a sentry building on top of it. 

Our next stop was the Terracotta Workshop

where they make souvenirs including life size terracotta warrior figures in the traditional way the originals were made, which you can purchase and have shipped to your home.

Finally it was time to go to see the Terracotta Army itself, the highlight of the holiday for me.   I cannot even begin to describe what it was like except to say WOW, so I will let the photographs speak for themselves.

The floors were rammed with earth 45cm thick and paved with bricks.
The site has no-where near all been excavated.

There are even horses!

It is said that all the warriors have a different face and their ranks are shown by the different hairstyles..   This next photograph shows that it could quite possibly be true, you will see the differences if you click on the photo for a closer look. 

There is a space at the back of the dig where figures are renovated to be put back where they were found.

In the museum you can see the different ranks explained.  A kneeling archer.
Middle ranking officer.
High ranking officer.
Cavalryman with his saddled horse.
Standing archer.
 The bronze chariot and horses that were found are in the museum.

There is even evidence of chrome-plating technology 2,200 years before the Germans invented it!
The Terracotta Army is part of a much larger necropolis. The entire necropolis built for the emperor covering a large area was found surrounding the first emperor's tomb mound. The earthen tomb mound is located at the foot of Mount Li and built in a pyramidal shape with Qin Shi Huang’s necropolis complex constructed as a microcosm of his imperial palace or compound. The warriors stood guard to the east of the tomb.

The tomb appears to be a hermetically-sealed space the size of a football pitch.The tomb remains unopened, possibly due to concerns about preservation of its artifacts. After the excavation of the Terracotta Army, the painted surface present on some terracotta figures began to flake and fade.The lacquer covering the paint can curl in fifteen seconds once exposed to Xi'an's dry air and can flake off in just four minutes.

We were told by our guide that archeologists and scientists are working hard to find a way to open the tomb without destroying what is in it.   We have always said we never go back anywhere because there is so much to see in the world.   However, if that tomb is opened and available to see in our lifetime we intend to try our hardest to go to see it.

We have lots more photos, this is just a small selection, and the most wonderful memories of actually seeing something most people can only dream of.   Suffice to say it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing the famous Terracotta Army and I do hope you will get to see it for yourself some day.

Please join me for Part 10 when we continue our journey to Beijjing.

Monday 20 June 2016


Hi everyone, sorry it's been a while but things have been busy here with one thing and another ie many hospital visits with MIL who is thankfully well (for her age 86) again now and  I've had two lots of surgery ( carpal tunnel release on both hands) which has been very successful.

I will eventually get back to telling you all about the rest of our trip to China, I bet you've forgotten all about it haven't you?.  First I want to tell you about a holiday we had recently in Croatia. which we thoroughly enjoyed because it was just totally relaxing instead of touring, unlike like most of the holidays we have done for the past 6 years.

We flew into Dubrovnik and took a ferry for the 25minute crossing for our 10night stay on the little island called Kolocep, which is just off the coast of Dubrovnik, at the Sensimar Kalamota Island Resort.    The island is traffic free and has about 160 inhabitants and the hotel is the only one on the island. Everything is all inclusive at the hotel and adults only, mostly couples, so we thought it would be the perfect place to totally relax after a quite taxing time and it was exactly that.

Here's a few photos of the hotel.

All the accommodation is in villas set in the hillside, so the resort is not suitable for the infirm as there are lots of steps and hills to climb.   Our room was in the topmost villa and we had 72 steps to climb from the main part of the hotel to get there.  Good exercise after all the delicious food we were eating three times a day!  Here's the view from our balcony.
We spent most days relaxing round the beautiful pool, drinking fabulous cocktails, reading, listening to music and sleeping.

Our evenings consisted of dressing to dine in the fabulous restaurants, be it the buffet restaurant, either of the two Al a Carte restuarants or the local restaurant, Villa Ruza, a short stroll away, where they served the most fabulously tender lamb Dalmatian style,  which was cooked in a big clay oven for over three hours.

We weren't completely lazy we did venture away from the island to visit Mostar in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina.    On the way to Mostar we visited the church of Herzegovinian Gračanica,  situated on a Crkvina hill above the town.

The church is very beautiful inside, apparently built following the model of the Gracanica church in Kosovo.

The views from the church are magnificent.

We continued our journey to Mostar looking forward to seeing the famous bridge, which was destroyed in 1993 by the Croatians during the war there.   This Youtube video shows the bridge being destroyed.

The bridge has obviously been rebuilt and is quite magnificent.   Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (mostari) who in the medieval times guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over the Neretva. The Old Bridge, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's most recognizable landmarks, and is considered one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans.

We visited a mosque and a traditional Turkish house in the town.

Unfortunately the weather was atrocious, it literally poured with rain all the time we were there and we got soaked walking round the lovely cobbled streets which were virtual rivers because of the rain.   However, we are happy we made the trip because the sight of the magnificent bridge was worth it.

On the way back we stopped at a traditional vilage called Pocitelj for some refreshment.  The walled town of Počitelj evolved in the period from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

It was a tiring day and one we would have enjoyed a lot more had the weather been kinder but hey ho such is life.     We headed back to Dubrovnik to catch the ferry back to the island hotel in time for dinner and a rest.

After another few days of doing nothing by the pool we decided to take the ferry over to Dubrovnik itself for the evening.   Here I am waiting for the ferry on the island's pier.

The sun was setting as we set sail.

This was the view of the Dubrovnik Bridge from the ferry as we neared the harbour.   The Dubrovnik bridge is one of the largest single-pylon, cable-stayed bridges in the world.  52m above the water, it spans a large cove north-west of the city.   This water crossing has shortened the distance between Split and Dubrovnik on the coastal road by 12km.

Dubrovnik from the sea.
We spent a lovely evening wandering around the city, enjoying the architecture and the nightlife,

before enjoying a superb local bottle of wine with a plate of local cheeses in a lovely little wine bar called D'vino, which himself had discovered on the internet before our trip.

With only one day left we spent it round the pool again,

then another delicious dinner,

The pefect way to end a perfect holiday before packing for the journey home and a very early departure.

I shall be getting back to my report on our trip to China very soon so I hope you'll join me for that.