Friday, March 1, 2013

Venice of the East

So usually when I travel I like to have a plan. Which is totally opposite from how I do everything else. But traveling is the exception. So when a group of us decided to randomly take a day trip to a nearby town with just about as little preparation as there possibly could be I was a little nervous. And super excited.

First we took a taxi. Then I experienced my first high-speed train ride. Which was not nearly as terrifying as I thought it would be. Give me a break, I had never ridden a train before, ok?

Then we took a bus. And we accidentally stole other people's seats. Oops. Apparently bus seats are assigned in China? Then we took a shuttle. And we finally arrived in Tongli.

Tongli is a small water town near Suzhou. Like any of you know where that is, haha. Anyways, by the time we got there it was around noon and we were all starving. Unfortunately Tongli had been described to us as the worst food in China. We finally found an only slightly sketchy-looking burger/fried chicken place that we could all agree on. And it even had a seating area. If you can call it that.

After eating the greasiest food of my life (though better tasting than I thought it would be) we started to explore. Tongli is known for its beautiful gardens, classic Chinese architecture, and for being built around a large canal that the city thrives on.

The best part by far was the gondola ride. It was a beautiful day, the company was excellent, and it was really nice to just be out and seeing new things. And as we were buying our tickets for the ride we got caught up in a very colorful (and loud) Dragon parade.

The canal is the life-force of this town. They wash their clothes and food in it, and it is their major source of tourism and income.

After the gondola ride we explored the gardens. They were so beautiful. When we are being honest though, all Chinese buildings start to look the same. Luckily the gardens break up the monotony.

Our favorite garden

After getting our fill of Chinese architecture and gardens we started wandering around and just enjoying a day outside before we headed back to Nanjing.

Spencer being "pretty"

Taxi, train, bus, shuttle, gondola, shuttle, bus, train, subway, bus, home!

It was a great day with great friends at a great place. We were fortunate to have no transportation issues (phew) and it was one of my favorite days in China so far. I'm so grateful for good friends who are willing to be adventurous with us, and for the opportunity we've had to be here in China and to experience so many wonderful things and see such amazing places.

1 comment:

  1. Man!! You make my life look super boring :) Love seeing all of your pictures.