Garden of Lions

Trip Start Aug 20, 2004
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Trip End Aug 28, 2005


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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Well, we gambled on the weather and lost as today's rain and cloudiness is even worse than yesterdays! Not mush we could do about it so we marched off into the rain and wind to see a few famous gardens around Suzhou. After some breakfast we walked to the nearby Master of the Nets garden (Wangshi Yuan), which is one of the smaller gardens but supposedly one of the best as well. It was an interesting garden because it seemingly mixed a traditional garden with a residence and it was nice and all, but days end would prove that although the Chinese gardens are very nice, they pale in comparison with the Japanese gardens I've been to. Next we sloshed through a downpour and took a bus to the Humble Administrators garden (Zhouzheng Yuan), which is considered by many to be second to the Nets garden. It's your more traditional "outdoors" garden with streams, ponds, bridges, and islands of bamboo forests. It was constructed in the 1500s, is quite large, and affords you the ability to walk and stroll around for an hour or so. Afterwards, we walked to the Lions garden, which is interesting because it's a traditional garden but they designed it in conjunction with a labyrinth of man-made stone hills and walk-through caves, so you end up traversing the entire garden but in a twisting, ducking, round-about manner that makes the experience more fun than your usual garden outing.
Since bad weather really sucks the life out of garden viewing we decided to hop an early train to Nanjing, so we stocked up on train goodies and took a semi-comfortable train for about 2 hours, unfortunately with an incredibly smelly Chinese teenager on the same train car, but he didn't look smelly...I have no idea how he could smell that badly because he reeked...like a combination of feet and three days of sweat with a touch of two week old underwear! Anyway, we arrived and eventually found our hostel and I'll get up early tomorrow to see the Massacre Museum of Nanjing and then meet up with Kham for a few more sites before we get one last train to Shanghai - where she'll meet her sisters and I will take a flight to South Korea on Saturday.
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