The City Wall of Xi’An

In the ancient city of Xi’An, the huge fortifications built around the city, protected its inhabitants from invasions in the past. The Xi’An city wall is a magnificent, well preserved architecture, the pride of Shaanxi Province. It stands tall and strong, has passed the test of time and quite famous for the cycling spree. It also serves as one of the hot-spots for wedding photo shoots.

I was in this peaceful city of Xi’An exactly a year back, and I am very nostalgic about the events. I stayed at a traveler’s hostel and I met backpackers from around the world. After an evening of socializing with a few and talking about what our plans were for the next day, Luka a British traveler suggested we visit the Xi’An city wall. We decided to meet at the reception at 10am and then start our adventure. Vincent from Australia, Michael from Germany, Luka from Britain and I set out to see the magnificent city wall of Xi’An.

It was a beautiful morning, a cool wind blowing from the Huyain mountains, the weather was just pleasant. Michael was braving the cool wind with just a cotton shirt and was flaunting, with a few buttons open. He got many second looks since everyone else was wrapped in thick layers of woolen overalls to ward off the chilling wind, and a few passersby gave a friendly nod acknowledging his stunt.

We walked the sidewalks and navigated through the city with the help of – it was a pleasant walk through the streets as Xi’An is a calm and serene city. We finally arrived at the north entrance of the wall and while we were collecting the entrance ticket we heard a roaring sound of drums and heavy footsteps. Out of curiosity Luka and I instantly ran to check what was happening, we took a turn, entered an arch, crossed a corridor and then we saw it. It was a show performed by impersonators of the actual warriors, a spectacular performance of the way the empire was run by the Shaanxi Warriors back in the days.

I was transported back in time and saw the love the warriors had for their land and the zest with which they pursued the attacks that came their way, to protect their land. They adorned heavy armor and it was just mesmerizing to hear the battle commands accompanied by heavy drum beats.

We have some nice pictures with them. The Xi’An city wall was an enigma in itself, we went there for site seeing but it was like a Pandoras box that opened up this awesome flash back to the past. I have fond memories of Xi’An and if you should find yourself in this beautiful town, do walk the roads at leisure and visit the City Wall. It will be well worth the time and effort.


Camping in the Himalayas

One of the major attractions of going on treks is, to grab the opportunity to camp in tents. It’s a different feeling altogether. All our lives we are protected and shielded from the sun, the rain and the nasty cold. And here you are, wanting to leave that exact comfort behind, and try to survive with the bare minimum.

It really does call for a lot of mental conditioning, to move out of your comfort zone and camp in tents for weeks on end. When I ask few friends if they would like to go on a trek with me, the immediate response after they hear about the logistics of the camp, is “Hmmm , maybe another time!” 🙂

Some others improvise on their response and say “Nam we are quite comfortable where we are, why don’t you get us few pictures of the camp site on your way back?”  I totally understand the apprehension, but all it takes is, to give it a shot once. Just once!

While at the Himalayan Treks, I have seen quite a few beautiful scenic campsites. All the campsites are at a very prominent location, with a great view. This makes sense, because after you reach the campsite you finally relax and enjoy the scenary around. What a disaster if the campsite was in a cave, a pit, or if it was facing a wall of a rock!

The campsite in the picture above is Bhandak Thatch. It enjoys the reputation of being called the Switzerland of the Himalayas. I am glad to have stayed at this camp site twice! It’s a beautiful expanse of lush green pasture & my team mates are busy choosing their team for a game of cricket!