Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pingyao, China.

We took an overnight "soft sleeper”train to this walled city from the Ming Dynasty period. The books describe it as an early financial headquarters—a Wall Street—for all of China. They do not allow cars within the walls, in an effort to reduce pollution, which makes it both quieter and easier to breath. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We enjoyed the architecture, including the interior and courtyard of several stately Imperial Chinese residences. We took it pretty easy, rented bicycles and rode to the Shuanglin Temple. Last night, we took a sleepless “hard sleeper”—likely our last major train ride in China and arrived early this morning in Xi'an, where we are looking forward to seeing the Terracotta Army.

As we've fallen a little bit behind, we've decided to cut out Shanghai and Hanzhou, but we're still planning to cruise either the Yangzi or Li Rivers before making our way to Hong Kong and then departing China for Nepal.


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