Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders


2013/07/04-05 Suzhou

Posted on December 22, 2013 by daviding

On our 26-day journey, we only scheduled 24 hours in Suzhou.  The city is on the main train line between Beijing to Shanghai — actually only an hour east of Shanghai.  We arrived at Suzhou North Railway Station, and had a long taxi ride to our hotel west of the Jinghang Canal.  Thus gave us an experience of suburban Suzhou, with Yushan Lu station nearby the shopping mall.

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With Jinji Lake a destination sight, we rode the not-very-busy subway at rush hour through the city centre to the east side at Dongfang Zhimen (Gate of the Orient) station.  The building outside that subway stop looked to be a concert hall with no performances that day.

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Jinji (Golden Rooster) Lake is manmade.  Knowing that, the concrete shore is less surprising.

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After dinner, we walked along the shore in the dark.  Vendors featured lit-up toys.

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Looking westward, the higher buildings in central Suzhou were prominent.

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The Dongfang Zhimen skyscraper over the subway station is two towers joined at the top.  It was nearing completion in summer 2013.

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We rode the subway back west towards the city centre, getting off at the Leqiao Station.  The main shopping streets are a few blocks north.

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On the way, there were street vendors selling fruit, shells, and assorted knick-knacks.

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Passing some construction, we eventually found Guanqian Street.  It’s known to be one of the grand shopping streets in China.  DY and I decided to return to the hotel, and left the younger of our group to find the temple closed for the evening.

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With little time for sightseeing late the next morning, we rode in two cabs over to Pingjiang Street. The canal dates back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), with homes on one side of the canal and shops on the other.

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The flagstone street invites strolling.  Coconut shakes were a welcome treat.

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We crossed over a bridge to the residential side of the canal, but there wasn’t much to see.

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From the bridge, however, the canal was scenic.  We opted to not have lunch in the teahouse.  We had to stop under some eaves as rain started and then stopped.

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With a 5 p.m. departure scheduled, we walked to a nearby hotel where the bellman called taxis for us.  After a stop back on the west side to pick up luggage, we looped back east to the Suzhou Railway Station in the city centre.

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[See the album of 34 Suzhou webphotos (with a slideshow option)]

If we’re back in China with more time on a trip in the future, perhaps we’ll plan more time in Suzhou.  It’s not a big city like Beijing or Shanghai, and it’s known for its classical gardens.  A more relaxed pace — not to mention clear weather — would suit a more leisurely visit.

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