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Published: August 22nd 2018
Well the giant crab like spider didn't bite me to death during the night, which was a relief. I soon got myself sorted and headed out to explore some more of Shaoxing. I didn't get too far as my first stop was Starbucks for a coffee and some breakfast. Filled with caffiene, I was ready to explore. I took a walk down the main pedestrianised tourist street. I loved the little canal ways that were filled with small boats. I kind of wish that I could have took a ride on one, it would have been nice to see the streets and houses from a different perspective. I came to the Shou Family Taimen and went in there for a look around. A taimen is a house complex and this one was built during the Qing Dynasty. The house complex is single storey and was the home of Shou Jingwu, who was Lu Xun's tutor. The eastern wing room of the house was the Sanwei study (three flavour study), where Shou Jingwu tutored his students in the Chinese classics. I enjoyed wandering around the house complex. I might not know much about these famous Chinese scholars but it was still interesting
to look around the house and imagine people studying there. Shou Jingwu was a very popular tutor as his number of students grew, the study room became too small and he invited his son, Shou Zhulin, to teach some of the students. The house was beautiful and well preserved. There was even a cute little rear garden atthe back of the property and although small, I could imagine the students heading out there to relax and refresh themsleves.
I then headed over to the big mural, which I had seen yesterday. It is a pretty cool sight. It depicts Luxun and, having since done some research, I found out that the term Luxun Native Place refers to the whole pedestrianised street, as Luxun lived in more than one of the buildings and frequented various other establishments along the street. There was another home that Luxun had lived in, I am not one hundred percent sure if this is called the 'Former Residence of Luxun' as I never got to find out the name in English and I have no Chinese skills to look it up. Judging by the size of this place and the queuing area in front, I
felt like this was the main attraction in the area. Since I had come just after the holiday had finished, it was really quiet. Once again, there was no entry fee, but I did have to show my ID, however most places don't seem to care about a foreigner's ID. My first impression of this residence was that it as grander than the other places I had visited. When I walked in, there was a small enclosed garden space with an open roof and troughs of water, which had small Bonsai trees on shelves above them. There was also some trees and a table at which people could sit and relax. It felt very tranquil. The house was pretty big and spread out. I enjoyed walking along the external corridors and coming to rooms and small courtyards. All the corridors and spaces were very photogenic. I love how well China preserves its old buildings and that these places are kept immaculately clean. It must be a pretty hard task when there is a constant stream of people coming through. I enjoyed looking at the old rooms in the house. While the furniture in the receptions rooms didn't look too comfortable,
the bedrooms looked a little better. I love the old style beds which have walls. To me, it feels like it adds a layer of privacy between the sleeper and the outside world. The bathroom was quite an interesting room, as there was a screen up, so I couldn't get a proper look at the bathtub/washing facilities. I would have liked to have seen how people bathed in the past. There was one room that intrigued me, it looked like a storage room as it contained several trunks and some shelves. However, the sign said that it was a 'pawn shop'. This confused me and I wondered if the family business was a pawnbroker or that the Chinese characters had been mistranslated into English. I guess I will never know.
I had seen everything that I wanted to on the main street and had been in a few of the shops, too. I have noticed that the tourist shopping streets in China all tend to have the same chains. I needed a bit of a rest so I headed back to the Starbucks for a coffee and to read for a while. I never normally go to Starbucks, but
it is my indulgent treat when I am travelling in China. When I felt revived, I decided to head out and explore some of the little alleyways that were nearby. I needed some water, so I headed into a little shop just across the street. The place was empty, so I grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and waited for someone to appear. I waited for a while and nobody came. I was in a bit of a quandry, I really needed the water as I was thirsty, but felt guilty just leaving the money on the counter. But in the end I had to do that as no one came from out the back. At least I was honest and left the money. Luckily, the drink prices had all been clearly marked on the fridge. It was a random place. It was definitely a shoe shop, but wanted to make some money off the tourist passing by, which is why it had the fridge full of drinks. Since I had seen all the sights on the main street, I decided to venture down the back streets to see what I could see there. There was a signpost
saying there were some temples down there, so I took a wander. I loved the back lanes. It was filled with normal people going about their daily lives, which I liked to see. I came to the first temple (I have forgotten the names of them and it appeared that I didn't get a photo of the names in English), which was really small. There was no one about apart from me, so I took a look around. There wasn't too much to see, but I still enjoyed looking around. The temple wasn't big or fancy and it felt like it was a small community temple for locals, which is not the type of place I would normally visit, so that was a bit unique. Then I headed over to the second temple, where I have to admit I was a little naughty. There was a sign at the front say ing that there was an entrance fee, but nobody was about to collect any money from me, so I just headed in. Maybe it was karma as I had done the right thing in the shop earlier. This temple was a bigger than the other one but still not
massive. It was pretty and well cared for. I really liked the stone carvings in the side of the temple walls that depicted deer next to trees. They were really pretty. After leaving the temple, I continued to wander the alleyway. I loved seeing the old style single storey houses. It felt a bit like stepping back in time apart from they were still very much in use and there were signs of modernity such as air-con units and e-bikes.
I decided to take the bus that I had took yesterday back to the train station. It would be a lot cheaper than a taxi. I headed from the hostel to the main street and walked up that for 15 minutes or so before finding the side street that the bus had gone down. I headed to the stop on the opposite side and didn't have to wait too long for a bus. The journey took about 30-40 minutes and we passed a nice looking park that had some hills dotted with pagodas. It looked like a place I would be interested in spending a few hours in. When the bus arrived at the train station, I went to
find the ticket office. There was minimal English signage, but I found it and got my ticket. The train station is pretty small, but there were a couple of restaurants and I picked a dumpling soup place. I got some kind of combo set and the food was decent. Soon, it was time for my train. It felt like months ago, since I had got on the plane to Beijing. Shaoxing was a cute little town and I'm glad I picked it as the place to spend the last couple of days of my holiday. I think what made it nicer was that it was free from the tourist hordes as the National Day week long holiday was now officially over.
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