Highlights of Suzhou
Trip Start Aug 19, 2009
12Trip End Sep 16, 2009
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Our overnight train arrived in Suzhou at ~7am. Unfortunately, most people hadn't had much sleep because I'd decided to have a few beers in the evening to help me sleep, which resulted in me snoring and keeping everyone else awake. Dave had also decided to keep prodding me when I started snoring so I didn't get much sleep either. Ho hum.
Suzhou is characterised by canals, lots of them, with the biggest being the Grand Canal. Construction of the latter began in 486BC and continued over the next one thousand years. The Canal is now the world's largest man-made waterway, running all the way from the Shanghai area to Beijing in the north of the country. Completion of the Canal allowed the city's prized commodity, silk, to be exported northwards. Suzhou also drew an influx of scholars and merchants who built themselves many beautiful gardens, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We then paid a visit to Suzhou Museum. Contrary to what it said in some of our guidebooks, it was free to enter and the information was in both Chinese and English. The museum contained many interesting and beautiful pieces, I particularly liked the intricate, exquisitely carved ivory and bone pieces.
It was onto the Tiger Hill Scenic Area, most famous for the Cloud Rock Leaning Pagoda, which at it’s highest point leans ~2m from the perpendicular. It actually looked like it leant much more than it and it could have toppled over at any moment. The area is supposed to contain the burial place of the founder of Suzhou, buried along with 3,000 swords apparently!
A bit of a change in cuisine tonight for some of us with a visit to Pizza Hut.
Thurs 10th Sept. Tour Day 19: Suzhou to Shanghai
The group then caught a high speed train to Shanghai after lunch - the maximum speed was 240 kph (we reached 206 kph) and it took about 40 minutes to get to Shanghai.