Reminiscing – The China Trip – October 2016
Let’s start with the bad
Days on the China trip were filled with great activities, and tours were not to be missed. The very clever organisers (Thanks, Julie and Suzy!) had planned alternating ‘chill-out’, and ‘out-and-about’ days that provided just the right amount of rest, in between hectic tours. But the one thing that put a damper on our travels, whether it was an ‘in’ or ‘out’ day, was the weather.
Great Weather For Ducks…
It rained! And it rained. And it rained. Not enough to stop us from doing anything, but enough to cover a lot of the photos I took with ‘drops’. Some photos would have been fantastic – if you could have seen through the raindrops on the window of the bus, which is where I took most photos from. There wasn’t enough time to stop for photos at every bridge or building along the way, so I had to rely on my iPhone camera to capture moments as we sped by. This usually worked, but not when the windows were covered in raindrops.
But I learned a lot about umbrellas and weatherproof jackets on that trip. Did you know that Starbucks at Zhujiajiao have little bags to put your wet umbrella in? It beats the heck out of water dripping all over the floor because you don’t want to leave your favourite (or only) brolly in the container at the door.
Now That The Bad Is Out Of The Way, Let’s Move On To The Good
Our first big excursion was from Shanghai to Nanjing on the Bullet Train. Nanjing is the capital of the Jiangsu Province and is also known as the Southern Capital, with Beijing being the Northern Capital. The replica of one of Admiral Zheng He’s Treasure Ships, reportedly built in the 15th Century, was amazing. The beauty of the wooden structure conjured up images of ancient seafarers travelling the high seas, risking life and limb. I wonder what they would think of the luxury liners we travel on now?
Another big day out turned into three big days (and two nights). Shanghai is a big city! There are more people living there than in the whole of Australia (2016). We didn’t meet them all, but we felt like we’d seen most of them. They were driving on the highways. Nearly all of them! Well, it certainly felt that way as we made our way slowly through the traffic.
Our accommodation for two nights, while exploring Shanghai, was at the Radisson Blu, a seriously nice hotel. The famous Bund was not far away and a coach was at our disposal to get us around the city, which is just as well because it rained!
Shopping Vs The Harbour
I’d heard the shopping was good at the Bund and was looking forward to checking it out, but we sacrificed shopping for a spectacular view of the harbour at night. The view was the better deal because the rain held off long enough for some great photos.
And Now For The WOW!!
One of the highlights of the trip was a day in Suzhou, one of the most popular tourist towns in China. I thought that Zhujiajou was spectacular, but Suzhou was even more so. A boat ride along the canals of this ancient town exceeded any expectations I had of what China had to offer. It was like looking over the back fences of the neighbourhood. Seeing locals going about their daily chores; kids waving from the pier; barges hauling their cargo. There is no better way to get up close and personal with Chinese culture than skimming past their back door on a boat. It was magic!
There are eight significant Water Towns in China and my Travel Bucket List now includes visiting each one of them. But that’s another adventure, for another time.