In an effort to keep exploring China until we peace-out, Katie and I took a day excursion to Suzhou (Sue Joe) for making it to our three-month point. We have attempted this two times before but this time we were prepared and determined. This determination had our alarm waking us up at 6:30am, which is not that early for most of you, but we don’t get home from our work until after 10:00pm most nights. With train tickets in hand we had to brave the morning rush of subway commuters to get to the train station where we were once again reminded what sardines feel like. At the train station everything went as smoothly a possible when most signs and our train tickets were only in Chinese characters.
Suzhou is often referred to as the “East Venice of the World” and is known for its canals, bridges, gardens, and natural beauty. It is also the cradle of the Wu Culture and has a history of over 2,500 years but in modern times it looks just as busy as Shanghai. As soon as we got off the train we were reminded that this is a major tourist destination as a crowd of locals trying to sell us tours and trinkets accosted us. They see a white couple coming from a distance and start running to be first in line to sell us something. Unfortunately for them, we are cheap and like to make our own adventure. We walked the 20-minute journey from the train station to the first major attraction the North Temple Pagoda. After viewing the amazing Pagoda we walked down a major tourist street with some very cool street food venders.
In Suzhou there are close to a dozen gardens (that you have to pay to go into), some museums, and canals everywhere. Looking at the map we made a plan to hit several of the gardens, the Confucius Temple and several historic areas. Katie and I have been reading books together on our Kindles and finished our books in the Couple’s Retreat Garden, then took a lovely walk along the historic Ping Jiang Street. From there we made our way to the Confucius Temple and then down to the river. At the river we laid out a blanket to take in the atmosphere and we received lots of stares and weird looks from the locals. This is because no one lies on the grass in this country to relax, as there is usually a guard in all parks yelling at people to get off the grass. We enjoyed ourselves, waved and stared back at them all. From there we made our way to a pub and then treated ourselves to a nice dinner with some good wine.
We caught our train at 9:15pm and took the hour ride back to Shanghai and were so happy to get back to our bed just before midnight. It was another great adventure with my baby. Check out our pictures through this link. https://picasaweb.google.com/105315223482012434599/Suzhou
Lovely to hear about your trip. miss you two.