Today we went on a day trip by car to Suzhou. Suzhou is renowned for its gardens because the Grand Canal running north to south includes Suzhou and therefore water was a large feature and contributed to the gardens.
[ BTW – We showed our guide the menu photo and discovered that we had a frog meal the night before which accounts for the very small bones!! ]
We went to the quiet Lingering Garden and our guide explained the important features of a garden is rocks ,water, flowers and paths ( we think the last one is correct and there certainly are paths in the gardens so we think the fourth was paths!!!). The best rocks are single,large and with holes in them. Zig zag paths were made to make the visitor linger longer and enjoy the garden.Because of the rainy season, the walkways around the buildings were roofed so that the garden could always be viewed even in the wet. There was a garden of beautiful bonsais – some very ancient and apparently the Chinese bonsais are large rather than small like Japanese bonsais. Different shaped windows and different shapes within the window frame gave the viewer a different view of the garden with each window. There were also moon doorways with a big circle like the moon.Our guide said that there are four moons on a fullmoon-the moon in the sky,the moon in the doorway,the moon reflection in the water and the moon in your heart.
After the beautiful garden, we went to see the Pan Gate which was the entrance to the city of Suzhou.It was a complex structure bit like a moat with a large pit surrounded by tall walls and heavy gates to allow water in and out. Then it was on to the boat cruise on the GrandCanal – like Venice in China! We chugged along the canal and then did a tight 360 degrees and cameback again. Parts are quite narrow and we passed under a couple of bridges as well.
It was a long trip back and we were dropped off to ascend to the tallest building in Shanghai (currently anyway as the tallest isn’t finished yet). It is the Shanghai Financial Centre and it is 96 floors to the bottom section of the “bottle opener”then tothe 100 floor by another lift to get to the top. There were glass panels in the floor as well as just looking over the edge down to the ground below. Paul loved it-Iwas glad to get back down to the ground (but did find it fascinating – and how are these skyscrapers built anyway???
We went to the same place for dinner as thenight before. The dishes we ordered were so hot with chilli!