A wonderful delight in Xi’an was cycling around the old city wall. In fact we liked it so much that after completing our morning ride with Karin and Wei we returned the following day to do a sunset ride. Steve aptly named the circuit the “Red Lantern Ride”.
Initially the wall was built with earth, quick lime and glutinous rice extract. This made it strong however it was also susceptible to the weather and later it was totally enclosed in bricks. There are some cracks in the wall and there was a sign saying that the horizontal cracks are the most worrying. I hope they work out how to maintain it
There is something surreal about using a structure that has been around for 700 years to cycle on.
This must be the safest bike ride in China as the only traffic on the wall is pedestrians, other cyclists (some young lovers on tandems) and the occasional electric car transporting less active tourists. All we really had to worry about was random missing paving stones.
The wall is a great vantage point to view the beautifully landscaped park alongside the moat that surrounds the outer wall.
Inside the wall, busy modern life goes on and there is a mixture of old and modern buildings. It’s clear that a building covenant has more recently been put in place with newer buildings following a more traditional design and being much more attractive.
There are passages up to the wall, with gradually ascending steps, made so that it was easy for war horses to ascend and descend. As we rode our trusty steads around the wall I could almost hear the thundering of the war horses’ hooves echoing from the past.