Thursday, May 15, 2008


On Monday we caught the fast 'D' type train to Suzhou to see some of it's UNESCO World Heritage gardens. We expected there to be some sort of tourist info at the station, but were disappointed. Luckily we'd done our homework and the main Pagoda was easy to spot in the distance. So we chanced our hand and headed in its direction.

After a pretty unpleasant hike across the building site outside the station and in the road at times, we paid the entrance fee and had a quick wander round the Pagoda's grounds and associated temple. We must have been feeling energetic, despite the day before's treks round Shanghai, as we managed to climb to the fifth floor before turning around.

From our vantage point, and with a little bit of memorising of the map the previous night we figured out the way to the Humble Administrator's gardens. As we walked the streets to them it was obvious from the attention we received they don't get many independent travellers. Anna's blond hair continues to get plenty of stares from men and women alike.

We nearly missed the gardens due to some money confusion, thinking at first we hadn't enough to get in, then finding we had. I'm glad we did. Although I'd have preferred not to have had to share it with the megaphone led, matching capped hoards of tour groups. But as we're learning they're an integral part of the experience when travelling in China.

Having taken far too many pictures of bridges and flowers we wandered back to the station to catch our return train to Shanghai. I think the saying that Suzhou is heaven on earth is a great coup for the spin doctors of the place as it never felt like it to us. Maybe it'll be better when they finish it.

No comments: