Suzhou

Trip Start Jan 16, 2008
1
8
117
Trip End Jul 28, 2008


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Friday, February 1, 2008

Arriving in a blizzard, it quickly became apparent that conditions still remained severe! Thick snow covered every inch of the city and every news bulletin was dominated by the unprecedented weather - the worst in over 50 years.
 
Even so, Suzhou was a charming place with a network of canals winding its way through the city, crossed by some wonderful stone bridges. The city is traditionally famous for its gardens - so probably wasn't the ideal time to visit!? However, its equally famous Silk Museum provided a pleasant afternoon, with the nearby North Temple Pagoda providing an impressive backdrop.
 
Unfortunately many other attractions were either closed altogether or so affected by the snow that you were merely paying for the privilege of viewing the snow itself as it completely covered anything of interest. Therefore, we made plans to head on to Shanghai a little earlier than expected. However, we did have time to travel 7 kilometres north-west of the city centre to the stunning site of Tiger Hill. Affectionately known as the "Leaning Tower of the East", this 10th century octagonal seven-story pagoda has tilted over the last 400 years and has now been displaced by more than 2 metres from its original position. It is a remarkable structure.
 
On reflection, we perhaps left Suzhou a little disappointed, but were fuelled by the excitemet of the bright lights of Shanghai...

Hope you all enjoyed Rob's geeky summary of the statistics of Suzhou, the basic story here is that it was cold and boring. The Silk Museum wasn't that 'pleasant' an afternoon as it was very cold and very Chinese. There was one quite interesting looking bucket type thing, but it turned out just to contain some plastic boring looking silk wormy things. The shop was ok I suppose, and I did get to undo my shoe laces for a bit (which lets some warm air in, for those who haven't been to museums in such inhospitable climates). The permafrost layers around my bones grew a little in density in Suzhou, but Rob did let me have pizza for lunch once so it wasn't all bad!
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