Saturday, 7 September 2013

Day 32 - Suzhou the Garden City

Suzhou is most famous for it's many (World Heritage) gardens and canals, this was also what impressed me most in 2006 when I hired a taxi to drive me from Shanghai here and around the city. I only had one day to spend here and kind of regretted not having had more time as I preferred it a lot over Shanghai.

This time I set a few days aside for Suzhou, partly to spend more time in the city but also to meet a friend living here now.unfortunately the dull weather and grey skies followed me here from Hangzhou. While it was not raining, the light was a bit dull for photographing gardens (or most other things really).

Still, after yesterday's rain it was an improvement and I set out to visit some of the more well known gardens.

I started off with the very nice 'The Humble Administrator's Garden', walked along Pingjian Street to the small but quaint 'The Couples' Garden Retreat' before finishing the tour at the quiet 'Master-of-Nets Garden'.

This being a Saturday, the gardens were all quite packed with people and tour groups so if you are looming for  tranquil garden experience, don't come here on a weekend. That said, if you wait till the groups pas, you get a few minutes of peace and quiet to enjoy the spot before another group comes around the corner.

There are a lot of different gardens to see in Suzhou and the best is to actually take a taxi to get between them if you just want to see  many gardens as possible, walking however means you get to see more of the actual city while walking through the different neighbourhoods and small alleys to get to your destination.

After the gardens closed, I went back to Pingjiang Street to take some more pictures, the street is a favourite with photographers taking pictures of models during the day, it it full of cafes and souvenir stalls. In the evening there are less photographers and most cafes are closed but you can still get a coffee or overpriced beers at some of them.

After the first day, I have to say that I find Suzhou to be a lot more touristy and less relaxed when compared with Hangzhou. Suzhou just feels like a bigger city but this could be deceiving since I spent my time around the West lake only in Hangzhou.

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