Everyone had a chance to sleep in today. We left the hotel at 9:30 for the Xi’anbei Railway Station for our final destination: Beijing! We had about a 30 min bus ride to the station, and then a 10 minute walk in the drizzle to the terminal. We make quite a scene as all 100+ of us walk together in our red tshirts, so the locals enjoy taking our picture. It's comical, really. After a quick run through security, we gathered at the train gate and said farewell to our guides in Xi’an. (Our Xi'an guides grew up in the area, so while we were there, they imparted their childhood stories and the history they new from first hand experience.)
The best way to explain getting on board the train is chaotic! Even with the smaller luggage and the carry on size instruments, it was interesting trying to get luggage stored and kids in seats before the train began to move! It took us most of the first 45 minutes of the trip to get everything stowed away properly for train standards, but then we settled into the 5.5 hour trip. We got to see a lot of the countryside that was full of farmland, but we also saw lots of sheep and a few cows along the way. Small little farm communities with houses clustered together peppered both sides of the train. This was a drastic change from the city of Xi’an we experienced a few hours prior.
We arrived in Beijing on time and made a relatively quick exit from the train station. On our way to dinner, the guides told us about the history of the ginko trees that lined the streets. We had a dinner at a hotel a few miles from the station. After dinner we had a quick drive to our hotel that we will be staying in for the next 4 nights. Even with a long travel day, we still had some adventurous folks wanting to go and explore a bit before curfew. Others decided to do some quick laundry so that it can dry off a bit. Everyone is ready to have a full day of sightseeing tomorrow with a trip to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park and of course the night food market!– Heather Powell, GDYO Chaperone