A Travellerspoint blog

Tiger Hill, Zhouzhuang Water Township and Farewell for now

Day 4 Suzhou and back to Shanghai

sunny 25 °C
View Tom & Jen's "Continental Drift" on jkerkin's travel map.

Angela organised a car and driver for the whole day so thankfully a train trip back to Shanghai was avoided. First stop was Starbucks for a coffee and then onto Tiger Hill. Main attraction is the Yunyansi Pagoda, built in 959 AD during the Song Dynasty, and the beautiful gardens surrounding it. The pagoda has quite a lean (more than 3 degrees) but they dare not excavate to restore it as the tomb of the Emperor buried beneath is believed to have booby traps.
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Gardens like these are a great retreat from the constant noise, traffic and people of everyday life in China.
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Halls and garden areas are given names inspired from famous poetry, which when translated into English is clumsy but quite beautifully profound.
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Angela shared stories of visiting this place as a kid, climbing on the rooftops and exploring the various areas. It is a place she holds in her heart.
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Next stop was onto Zhouzhuang Water Town. This was an old village restored with water canals, arts and crafts, street food, museums and Chinese traditional theatre where we enjoyed an impromptu performance of a famous old Chinese legend. The quiet narrow streets, water canals and the old buildings meant we got a great appreciation of olden times.
Lunch was really special, a little restaurant situated on a balcony over the roof tops.
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Trick is to always find a restaurant with pictures of the food to make sure you don't get something that is way off the normal menu - but we can never quite be sure what we're getting. A highlight of the trip so far has been the food and this was no exception: whole river shrimp, brewed local greens, local chicken, pork balls and most of all, Angela's company. Lots of reminiscing.
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A final stop at a Rice Wine Brewery for some samples. Rice wine is dark and semi sweet, akin to a fortified wine with a roasted soy fragrance. The longer it is aged, the darker and stronger it is.
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Then we had to say our goodbyes to Angela who was going to catch a bus back to Suzhou while we had a private car and driver take us back to Shanghai. Angela was so nice and we got to go off the normal tourist trail. We cannot thank Angela enough and hopefully we can repay her hospitality someday soon.

We had about a 1 1/2 hour drive back to Shanghai and saw more of the massive apartment blocks that have been built recently and a convention centre laid out in 4 part clover design, and from what we could figure, about 16x the Brisbane Convention Centre. Everything in Shanghai is on a massive scale. Roads, apartment buildings, airports, shopping centres, everything. This is about the most modern city that both Jen and I have been to.

We got to our hotel just 10 minutes from the airport so easy for our early flight onto Xi An to see the terracotta warriors.

Posted by jkerkin 03:02 Archived in China Tagged food china friends suzhou

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