Page 3 of Liz21 Travel Blog Posts


Asia » China » Shanghai » Luwan June 11th 2010

So it was back to the Expo. In an attempt to beat the queues, I headed off early - to get into the park at opening time. I had reckoned without the airport-style security. So I arrived for 9.30 and got into around 10.30. I naively headed first to the Chinese provinces pavillion, only to be told that it was entrance by reservation only. I couldn't really be bothered to queue for a reservation, so I headed instead for the Japan pavillion, right at the end of the Asian zone. I had also underestimated how fascinated the Chinese visitors would be by the Japanese pavillion (perhaps surprising given the lingering resentment after the violent Japanese occupation of the East coast of China). I joined the queue thinking optimistically that it would be an hour wait tops. ... read more
Expo axis
Japanese pavillion
South Korean pavillion

Asia » China » Shanghai » Huangpu June 10th 2010

Today, I decided to explore the Bund and the area round my hostel. I finally met my dormmates - one American travelling for a year (who was still asleep when I woke) and two friends travelling together, one of who was from Hong Kong and recommended where to go for tourist shopping. After breakfast, I headed East towards the Huangpu River, as there is a newly refurbished promenade along the river, with the Bund buildings to the right and, on the other bank, the new commercial district of Pudong. The Bund is... well, weird. Misplaced. It's quintessential 1920s and 30s European and American art deco and neo-Classical architecture. You feel, in fact, as though you are in Vienna or the older (and cleaner) parts of the City of London, or Berlin, or Paris. Anywhere, in short, ... read more
Bund promenade - view to Pudong
Bund promenade
Bund promenade - view to Pudong

Asia » China » Shanghai » Luwan June 9th 2010

The torrential rain continued as I packed up and headed off (on an extremely crowded bus, who did not look pleased to see a tourist with a rucksack board) to the station. I had treated myself to first-class this time - just so that I could say that I had travelled all classes and types of seat. It was very nice - much like the Shinkansen (although I wasn't in first class there...) and there were scarcely any trolleys trying to sell us stuff throughout the 2 and half hours to Shanghai. Once in Shanghai, I took yet another bus to the hostel, which was on the outskirts of the Bund - what used to be the British/American part of Shanghai. The hostel had been newly renovated and looks amazing - by far my most comfortable ... read more
Expo entrance
Expo entrance
China provinces pavillion

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Nanjing June 8th 2010

Today I headed back to the Zhongshan Mountain area to see the final attraction: the tomb of the Ming Emperor. Naning - the name literally means 'South capital' was the capital of China under the Ming dynasty, before it was changed back to Beijing - which, I found out, literally means 'North capital', such an anticlimax! The Ming tomb as it stands now is, you'll be stunned to learn, a reconstruction. You can visit the original site which still lies just off the path of the new tomb area. The tomb itself was fairly unimpressive, to be brutally honest. What makes the whole trip worth it, is the lead-up to the tomb and the scenic area around the tomb. The entrance leads over a carved wooden bridge to a now-roofless hall with a doorway pointing in ... read more
The Tablet Tower of Great Merits
The Tablet Tower of Great Merits
The Sacred Way

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Nanjing June 7th 2010

Met up with the people I hung out with the night before, and we all went to a local restaurant for lunch to sample some traditional Nanjing food. Fortunately, one of the party speaks fluent Mandarin, so ordering was so simple - we just left it to him. And he did us proud - I tried duck's blood, which is a Nanjing delicacy, but was disappointed: it didn't taste very strong, certainly not as strong as black pudding. The pumpkin soup, though, was amazing. After lunch, I said goodbye to my companions, who were heading back to Yangzhou by bus, and strode forth to find the remains of the famous Ming City Walls. You can't go to Nanjing without hearing about the walls. Nanjing is quite unusual for having its original (or near as dammit) walls ... read more
Ming wall sculpture
Ming wall sculpture
Ming wall sculpture

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Nanjing June 6th 2010

To the East of the city of Nanjing is a whole wooded area around Zhongshan mountain. This reserve has been set aside for walking, picnicking and for three of Nanjing's major sites: the Ming Tombs, Dr Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum and the Linggu Temple. Today, I decided to set off for the Linggu Temple - one of the great centres of modern, practising Buddhism in China. Since the bus system in Nanjing is impressively efficient (as, in fact, is most of the transport in China - one huge advantage of a Communist regime), I took the bus to the furthest point I could within the Zhongshan area and, with some trepidation, stepped out into sunlit forest. I soon found out that my entrance ticket did not only including the Linggu temple itself but also the surrounding area ... read more
Hongshan Gate
The Memorial Archway of the National Revolutionary Army
The Memorial Archway of the National Revolutionary Army

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Nanjing June 5th 2010

I spent a lazy morning packing and getting ready and then had an easy train ride into Nanjing, arriving mid afternoon. This time I travelled in a soft seat carriage, which generally meant bigger and more comfortable seats and fewer people. The train from Shanghai to Suzhou had been a hard seat and was just as manic and crammed full of people as the hard sleeper carriages had been. I arrived in Nanjing with mixed feelings. I had spent most of my time in Suzhou alone because the people I met were generally couples and so I didn't feel I could intrude on their time, or tag along. Because of this I was feeling quite lonely and a bit out of it. The staring and the desire to get as much out of you as a ... read more
Nanjing
Nanjing
Prayer tree outside the Confuscian Temple

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Suzhou June 4th 2010

Today I headed for the largest of Suzhou's gardens, the Humble Administrator's Garden. The name, apparently, is ironic, as the gardens themselves are vast and crawling with tourist groups. I found it hard to get a clear sense of the layout of the garden because of it's immense size; however, it seemed to be arranged into two distinct halves, divided by a white wall. The first half, with the entrance and exit, has a few buildings, then opens onto a vast space of about 6 or 7 acres. Half of this (nearest the wall leading to the second half of the garden) is taken up by a lake, with an island in the middle and various bridges winding their way round and over it. The other half, nearest the exit, is occupied by some buildings, which ... read more
The Humble Administrator's Garden
The Humble Administrator's Garden
The Humble Administrator's Garden

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Suzhou June 3rd 2010

The first thing that struck me was the glory of not being constantly sticky. Long gone was the humidiy of Guilin (although, with so many canals, not the mosquitoes) and 5 minutes after taking a shower I was - get this - fully dry. Sigh, so pleasant. I slept late as I was still knackered from the train ride, and then explored the city a bit. Suzhou used to be on the Silk Road, and so is famous for its silk and canal-ways. Also, for its gardens. I headed off to the Couple's Retreat Garden in the morning, so called because an elderly couple retired there after the end of his busy (political?) career. The garden is hidden quite ingeniously in the back ways of Suzhou (and my map utterly failed me by not showing most ... read more
Alleyways
Couple's Retreat Garden
Couple's Retreat Garden

Asia » China » Guangxi » Guilin June 1st 2010

I spent my last morning in Guilin stocking up on necessary snacks and instant noodles for the train ride, and then headed back onto a packed train carriage (hard sleeper again) for the train ride to Shanghai - only 22 hours this time. Oh, and nursing mosquito bites because some little wossit had been having a field day in our dorm the last night. The train journey was fairly painless, I read and slept, played cards (although the fact that British packs have 3 jokers completely threw my Chinese opponents - we ended up taking one out), and ate. I was sharing a partition with an elderly couple (very sweet and generous - they offered me a vine-leaf wrapped rice ball and then had to teach me how to eat it), and three young people my ... read more




Tot: 0.257s; Tpl: 0.012s; cc: 11; qc: 94; dbt: 0.0643s; 94; m:apollo w:www (50.28.60.10); sld: 2; ; mem: 6.6mb