Last known location: London, England

Canals, Crabs and Cakes in Suzhou

We arrived in Suzhou fairly late on Thursday night after a 5 hour train journey from Wuhan.  Our hostel was called the Waterfront Inn, a bit misleading considering it wasn’t that close to any of Suzhou’s canals! But it was great, and we had a fancy mezzanine room which we promptly fell asleep in!  On Friday we explored Suzhou.  Weather was fantastic, and we were happily strolling around in t-shirts again.  Got a few funny looks from the Chinese who were wrapped up in coats, but it must have been mid 20’s so we were perfectly happy!  So much so that when we arrived at one of the many parks we had a snooze on the grass by the river!

Next we headed to Pan Men, described in our guidebook as one of the most pleasant areas of the city.  It was an area within the old city walls, surrounded by two canals and a park.  After competing with other tourists for the obligatory photo opportunities we went over to Wangshi Yuan, an old temple and Chinese garden, stopping off for coffee and cake  en route.  There are loads of bakeries in Eastern China, so we’re upping out caffeine and calorie intake!  We browsed some of the local shops on the way to Suzhou Park, a really lovely green area in the middle of the city.  There was a big square playing traditional Chinese music and we sat for a while to watch local couples dancing.  There was also some sort of karaoke machine at the other end of the park which was overrun with people singing very badly!

Because Suzhou is a river town seafood is very popular, particularly crab.  We could barely walk 200m without seeing a shop front proudly displaying tanks full of live crabs.  Restaurants had tanks full of them, too, and you could choose your own crab from the tank for whatever meal you were having.  I’m a big fan of crab, but it did put me off a bit!

We went for dinner on ShiQuien Lu, the main bar and restaurant street in town.  Thinking we couldn’t go too far wrong, we walked into a busy Cantonese restaurant.  Once we sat down and looked at the menu I began to panic – it was all jellyfish and offal!  We had to make polite excuses and leave!  We eventually found a more Gemma-friendly place and had a nice dinner of chicken and beef, much more to my taste!

After eating we decided to head to a nearby bar and somehow ended up in “Jane’s Pub”, an expat friendly bar.  It filled up pretty quickly with Westerners and Chinese alike and we were even treated to some “live” music, which was basically two women singling along to music from their laptop!  Dan was thrilled because, just as we were about to leave, highlights from the Spurs v Inter Milan game came on so we had to stay for another drink or two!

The next day we were up early to pack our bags and check out.  We headed to the train station and bought a ticket to Shanghai, our final stop in China.  The train was really quick; 300km/h +, so we’d arrived within half an hour!  Three days in Shanghai before we head over to Osaka, Japan, on the ferry.

1 Comment:
  1. Rose 8 Nov, 2010

    Suzhou looks rather nice with all the canals. Not surprised you opted out of the jellyfish and offal restaurant!! Hope you enjoy Shanghai and meet up with Richard Grieve OK. Was the pedicure good?

    Well done always taking the right train and managing to make yourselves understood!


    Mum x x x

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