May 1, 2007

Glorious Suzhou: The Venice of the East

On one of our last days in China, we visited the 2,500-year-old city of Suzhou, which sits at the head of the Yangtse delta and on the shores of Lake Taihu. Built in 514 BC, this city has remained vitually unchanged within the original city walls, making it historically important.

Situated at the Grand Canal in the Yangtze delta, Suzhou is known for its manufacture of silk. The Grand Canal is the world’s longest manmade waterway, connecting Beijing to Hangzhou and five rivers.

A drive to the old city gates through modern Suzhou (photo taken through the window of our van.)

Chinese hardware stores.

Modern rickshaw.

Even though this town is a "tourist trap, I tried taking photos that give an authentic feel of this ancient water city.

Ancient City Gate leads to a shopping street and canal.

Walking around the city, we were always led through "tourist trap" alleys.

Old canal all gussied up for tourists

Making a silver ring

Recycling cart collects cardboard.

One of the many beautiful bridges spanning the canal.

Making delicious fresh pork-filled dumplings. I ate four, and also tried a pork sate spiced with chili powder. Not bad, but a little dry.

Blue and white porcelain bowls filled with merchandise.

Peek into an alley and entrance to homes

Houses along the canal

Tourist boats along the same canal.

The Chinese just couldn't get enough of the kids, with their light, curly Western hair, blue eyes, and pale skin. Everywhere we went in Suzhou, they became the focus of curiosity and conversation.

My best photo in China. A model poses in traditional garb for a professional photographer.

A peek up a non-tourist street. Life goes on.

I could have stayed all day and sketched and soaked up the atmosphere...

Fabulous steps to nowhere.

Rickshaw driver taking a mid-day nap.

Noodle bowl for lunch. Mine came with cubes of barbecued beef.

Three grades of fresh roasted chestnuts, each different in price.

Cleaning the restaurant window at lunch time.

One of the bridges in afternoon light.

Street vendors at the gate. This city is as popular with Chinese tourists as with Westerners.

Elderly lady selling frangipani flower corsets to my sister-in-law and me. Their fragrance lingered with us all afternoon.

Awaiting tourists, these portable chairs sat all afternoon long.

Why am I reminded of a city in the Netherlands?

Embroidering cloth. Some of samples were simply breathtaking and so affordable! I was tempted to purchase one, but I had already bough some silk paintings.

The end of a beautiful visit. I looked back longingly at this lovely sight.


BML said...

Looks like I'm not the only one who has been traveling! It looks like a wonderful place to visit!

Ms. Place said...

Both of us took fabulous trips! Love your sharing your journey to Italy!

jinxy said...

The pictures are wonderful. It looks like you had a ball. I envy you because I really never made it into Asia for travel, and that will always be one of my regrets. Hopefully after we are settled in the house we can remedy that particular regret.

Gorgeous Things said...

What breathtaking pictures! Thanks for giving me a destination to add to the checklist of places to go!

eric3000 said...


BigAssBelle said...

wow! what beautiful photos! you have a great eye. i've just glanced at my hands as they move over the keyboard and i see they've taken on a dusky grey/green shade, obviously evidence of the envy over this trip. i SO want to go to china. perhaps one day . . . lucky you. and thank you for sharing this. beautiful.

Java Junkie said...

Lovely photos, Vic!