Stop 1: City Wall
The most recent (but still fairly ancient) version of the Xian city wall is still standing today, and we spent the morning biking/golf-carting around the perimeter (~13 mi, if I remember correctly). I was super bummed to have to take the golf cart rather than a tandem bike (who wouldn’t want to ride a tandem bike around a city wall??), but the combination of a bad cold and the smoggy morning was no bueno for the lungs, and I played it safe by being driven at a breakneck pace in a golf cart overloaded with aggressive elderly Australian tourists instead. It was quite the experience, to say the least, but I still enjoyed getting to much of the inner city of Xian. The less-developed, older areas inside the walls and their sharp contrast to the sprawling apartment and industrial buildings outside the wall was fascinating, even in the pearlescent smoggy clouds that obscured the sun.
Stop 2: Flight to Chengdu!
By midday we were at the airport, and I had the pleasure of overhearing a bunch of older tourist complaining profusely about the squat toilets while they backed up the line in the bathroom all waiting for the one Western-style stall available. The flight went fine and we arrived in Chengdu in the early afternoon exhausted, sweaty, and ready to settle down after an incredible (and incredibly hectic) week and a half of travel.