Water Towns

Monday, March 24, 2014
Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
As previously advertised we are spending a couple of days doing very little to get our feet rested from all the sites and museums. We are in a town called Tongli which is one of the "water towns" to the east of Shanghai (for some reason it gets the district name of Suzhou from the Travelpad mapping tool). Tongli is supposedly full of old historic houses built around a system of canals, a bit like the Dutch villages in the north of Holland but with shorter people and no cheese nor windmills.

I say supposedly as most of the houses are reproductions . Whether the originals were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution or it is just the Chinese way of restoration (knock it down, rebuild using concrete made to look old and new wood). Whilst they look good in the photos they are not great. In fact the best building by far is the hotel we are staying in as at least it is well maintained freshly painted and clean. Those houses opened as museums don't look as though any maintenance has been done since they were built in about 1990 and consequently they look a bit tired.

Still, it is a cosy little town and once the day trippers leave at 3.00 it is nice and quiet, ideal for not doing much.

I am afraid we cheated to get here. The plan was to come by a combination of bus and train but the concierge in the hotel pulled a bit of a face when we said what we planned and pointed out a taxi would cost £40. As Tongli is about 100km from Shanghai this seemed a good, low-risk deal which we took, not very adventurous, we will go back on the train just to say we have done it.
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2018-05-22