Suzhou is known as the Venice of the East. Just a quick 28 minute fast train ride away from Shanghai’s Hongqiao Station, it was super convenient to get to this water town. Filled with famous garden, quaint streets, and rivers that cut across the city, it is the perfect retreat from the hot and humid August air in the middle of Shanghai.
This is the side of the Suzhou Museum. Made by the same architect that designed the Louvre in Paris, this museum is not only fascinating for its exterior design, but also for the unique contents inside of it. While some of the items are replicas because they had been destroyed in the past 50-60 years, they still told a great story of the city of Suzhou and it’s interesting history.
Did I have far too many of these kind of photos in my album after two days in this small water town? Absolutely. Did I regret it? Not at all. Every corner was another photo opportunity.
A lot of couples head to the river on the weekends for engagement and wedding photos. They take these photo moments super seriously, with people holding up all different types of fancy equipment. Heaven forbid the lighting isn’t perfect. This girl was posing on the bridge in the hot, hot sun for about half an hour. Later, she was sitting oh-so-delicately on a marble bench with her hubby-to-be and smiling oh-so-demurely until the photographer told her they got the good shot. Then she popped up, smacked her bottom, and exclaimed in Chinese, “Holy cow, was that marble hot. My bum is on FIRE!”
Tucked away on one of the tiny streets is one of the coolest stores I have ever seen for postcards. With graffiti walls and little nooks where people can study, the place is a tranquil escape from the bustle of city life. The greatest feature of this postcard store, though, is the time component. Writers can send a postcard to themselves…in the future. I feel like Dwight Schrute would have LOVED this store (if anyone reading this gets this reference, I will be very happy indeed!)
Nothing beats fresh fruit on a hot summer day in Suzhou. The fruit vendors were literally on every corner selling everything from plums and cherries to the more unusual lotus to other fruits that we simply had no idea what they were called in English or Chinese.
This guy had it all figured out. His outfit was perfectly put together to deal with the heat, he had the best spot for his boat, and he was hidden under the shade of one of the trees along the side of the river. I was tempted to ask if I could hop on board.
The Humble Administrator’s Garden – it’s one of the most famous gardens in all of China. Formerly a family property, it has now been turned into a tourist destination. Chinese and foreigners were SWARMING the garden while we were there. Understandably, though, as the place had everything from mini pagodas to lakes. The garden is also famous as it was the place where “The Dream of the Red Chamber”, a famous Chinese piece of literature, was based.
This guy was one of the many sellers on the tourist street. But his trade was much more specialized than some of the other people that were also working there. He was blowing glass and using fire to mold the glass figurines into wild, crazy things, like miniature dragons and mini-pianos. And as was the case in China, these fine pieces of work that must have taken many hours of labor cost a whopping 40 kuai, or just about 7 dollars.