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Published: April 5th 2007
Ping Jiang Lodge Foyer
Tucked away in a small laneway (Niu Jiang Xiang)off Ping Jiang Road (Lu), this is an absolute gem of a place. Furnished in late Ming style, we felt a little like "royalty" and were treated as such by the wonderfully friendly staff.
As expected, my final few days in Taizhou prior to my flight home to Australia were hectic. However, that did not prevent me from squeezing in a 2 day revisit to Suzhou with my friend Marg. As a long term committed backpacker my normal place of abode in Suzhou is the Suzhou International Youth Hostel. On this occasion we decided to go “upmarket” a bit on the recommendation of friends of Marg and stay at the charming Ping Jiang Lodge.
Ping Jiang Lodge is over 300 years old and one of a number of the recognized historic/heritage places remaining within the area of the old city walls. It is tucked away in one of the beautifully preserved laneways in Suzhou “old town”, only minutes away from the main shopping area of the CBD. Despite this close proximity, it is a quiet, tranquil environment, and we strolled aimlessly around for hours in the gorgeous little laneways and canals, winding back and forth, with hardly a honk of a car to be heard! Bliss!
Late afternoon found us outside a very inviting looking Mexican Restaurant with 2 for 1 Margueritas on offer. It was a bit early to eat, but
This peaceful canal was just outside the front door of our hotel. The streets were immaculate and it was wonderfully relaxing wandering around these narrow laneways while people went about their everyday business.
we couldn’t resist indulging in a little pre-dinner tipple. Next time we might even stay and try the food!
Next stop, Xin Hua Bookstore where Marg was delighted to find the exact books she was looking for. I was not so delighted to see that the girls at the check out handed her 2 CDs to go with the books, as I had purchased the very same books only a few weeks previously, and I had not been given any CDs. Bummer!
It was then on to “raid” my favourite DVD shop. Marg was like a kid in a candy shop and we both left well supplied.
Being a cool night we retired early to relish the luxury of reading for pleasure. That’s something we both enjoy immensely, but don’t often find the time to do.
Morning found us luxuriating in the fact we didn’t have to get up early, but we were soon aware that the staff were “hovering” outside the door. They were obviously wondering whether to disturb us or not. We had forgotten that we would be served breakfast in our room. A lot of nervous giggling ensued as the breakfast trays were laid
carefully on the 300 year old table (well, old anyway!) and we casually ate our “continental” croissant , jam , juice and tea while lolling about in the sumptuously soft bathrobes provided! Sooooo nice!
However, all good things must come to an end (what an awful clique!), so we packed ourselves up and went for another stroll before heading off to the bus station for our trip back to Taizhou. A very pleasant and relaxing “mini-break”. Just enough to recharge the batteries.
The next evening I had an invitation to the birthday celebration and farewell for one of the younger members of our crew, Kat. It was a great night- with all the right ingredients. Good food, great company and a lot of laughs! There was even a cake fight- much to the amusement of the locals. They love getting involved with stuff like that! As for myself- I stayed well clear!
The weekend that followed was relatively sedate and quiet, allowing me to pack for my holiday back in Oz. Packing did not take me long, as I intended to take very little gear back with me so as to have plenty of room to stock
Now you can't get it fresher than this!
up while home to bring back to China. The thought of 6weeks of Aussie summer weather was very comforting!! So let the pictures do the talking and I’ll “see” you soon with a quick glance at my “winter” holidays in the land of “Beautiful one day, perfect the next”.
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