The Champagne Backpacker: Michael's Round the World Trip 2005-2007-- The Adventure of a Lifetime travel blog

Garden of the Master of the Nets

Garden of the Master of the Nets -- Can You See My...

Garden of the Humble Administrator

Garden of the Humble Administrator

Garden of the Humble Administrator

Ruiguang Pagoda

View From The Top Of Ruiguang Pagoda

Coiled Gate

Wumen Bridge And Canal

Dinner At Restaurant 1931

Walking The French Concession

MONDAY, JULY 10, 2006. SUZHOU, CHINA. An old Chinese tourist slogan says "In heaven there is paradise, on earth Suzhou and Hangzhou." Having visited and enjoyed our stay in Hangzhou, my parents and I took a two hour bus ride to northeast to Suzhou to see whether the city lived up to its reputation. Suzhou is known for its classic gardens, canals (it's called the Venice of the East), and silk. After checking into our hotel (Nanlin Hotel Y684/triple) and lunch, we walked to the nearby Garden of the Master of the Nets. This is the smallest of Suzhou's gardens and considered the best. Originally laid out in the 12th Century, the garden and main pool are surrounded by buildings composed of a reception, living quarters, study, library, and other rooms, all carefully laid out to maximize the use of space and views of the gardens. The study was duplicated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 1981. The buildings and grounds appeared a little run down and unkempt for such a historical and important attraction.

Next, we caught a taxi to the Garden of the Humble Administrator and wandered the five hectares of streams, ponds, pavilions, bridges, and gardens. The Chinese government designated this garden as one of the country's most important. It rained for most of our short visit, so we headed into the central business district for some shopping.

TUESDAY, JULY 11, 2006. SUZHOU TO SHANGHAI, CHINA. We visited the Ruiguang Pagoda, which dates from the 3rd Century AD and is the oldest Pagoda in Jiangsu province. We climbed up to the 6th floor for a 360 degree view of Suzhou. Nearby is Suzhou's only remaining original city gate and section of the city wall, from where you can view the arched Wumen bridge over one of the city's many canals.

Another two hour bus ride and we arrived back in Shanghai. My parents enjoyed their last dinner in China at Restaurant 1931, a themed restaurant in the French Concession that, with waitresses in period dress, whisks you back to 1930s Shanghai.

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