We boarded one of the new high speed CRH Trains at Shanghai Train Station and made our way to Suzhou. It was quite exhilarating traveling at speeds over 200k per hour (120mph)! The high speed trains make towns like Suzhou very close suburbs of Shanghai with a speedy commute. Upon arrival we walked through the new train station's construction site to our transport bus bound for out hotel. Our hotel was in the middle of Suzhou's old town and a close walk to the markets and canal district.
Our main objective in Suzhou was to meet with a representative from the parks district for a presentation on the city's well know gardens. It was a great experience having a meeting in an official Chinese municipal office. After a breakdown of the parks and the UNESCO World Heritage designation we had chance to visit two of the gardens. The gardens date back to 800 years ago and were originally constructed as part of private residences of the upper class. First we walked through the Lingering Garden. It was a very large garden and you could easily spend a few hours getting to know the place. There were performers singing and
playing some traditional Chinese instruments which added to the ambiance. Our next stop was the Garden of the Nets. A much smaller garden but equally as impressive. It's hard to imagine someone living in such a place and having a beautiful garden like these for a back yard... It was a quick trip to Suzhou and the next day we were on our way again...
The results are in. After polling our friends and family members it's unanimous. Now is the time to travel. Before the mortgage, the kids, and before officially declaring "adult" status, Molly and I have decided to spend four months living out of a backpack with only three pair of underwear. We look forward to sharing the adventures ahead with all of our family and friends. ... full info