Suzhou Two-Week Travel Diary

The two-week trip to Suzhou has come to an end. Now, I am taking some time to organize my memories of this period, so I am writing something down. I apologize for my lack of literary talent. After all, I am a computer science major. Also, the pictures I used were taken with my own Dopod 565 and mobile phone. The quality is not good, and the editing is not great. Now I finally understand that when going on a trip, the most important thing is to bring a good camera.

First, let me introduce the purpose of this trip to Suzhou. Don't think it was for tourism. Actually, it was a free software training experience camp organized by a training institution in Jiangsu called "Sodi Education". It lasted for two weeks. The purpose was to experience the training, but for me, it was probably to get to know some friends from brother schools in Jiangsu. Of course, it was also nice to visit Suzhou. The expected Suzhou should be a combination of "economic development," "small bridges and flowing water," and "beautiful women everywhere." Here, I apologize to a friend. I can only borrow these descriptions for now. However, the first two are well-known, and the last one doesn't need to be mentioned. It is almost every man's first impression of Suzhou. Although I only stayed in the urban area of Suzhou for one day this time, I did get a glimpse of the "beautiful women FLASH." Below are some simple records of my itinerary these days. If you are interested, keep reading.

March 1st - Departure Day

I bought a ticket for 9 o'clock in the morning, but it was quite frustrating. By the time the three of us who were going together finished breakfast and gathered, it was already past 8 o'clock. Then the three of us hurriedly took a taxi and luckily didn't miss the train. We headed to Suzhou smoothly and it took about 3 hours.

We arrived at Suzhou South Station at 12:30 noon. Instead of being welcomed by beautiful women, we were greeted by a friendly middle-aged lady. She was so enthusiastic that I ended up buying a map of Suzhou from her for 5 yuan, but I bargained it down to 4 yuan. As soon as we stepped out of the South Station, a large group of people surrounded us. One guy spoke in Wu dialect and said, "Suzhou map, 2 yuan for the cheaper one." Seeing the same map, I immediately felt dizzy. So, friends who read this journal and plan to buy a map of Suzhou, remember this phrase: "Suzhou map, 2 yuan for the cheaper one."

I have to say, when you come to Suzhou, you must plan your itinerary like you would in Shanghai. Although the distances on the map seem short, it actually takes a long time if you take the bus. From the station to the base I was going to, I had to change buses twice, and it took me 3 hours in total. If you want to go sightseeing, spending 3 hours on a bus will definitely make you frustrated. However, you will find that the saying "Suzhou is full of beautiful women" is not false. Starting from the South Station, there were indeed many beautiful women around. If you have time and don't want to spend money, find a bus and sit in the back. It will definitely be a feast for your eyes.

March 2nd to March 6th, March 9th to March 14th - Training Days

I believe that if I talk about my training process, no one will be interested. Here, I mainly want to talk about the surrounding environment of Suzhou and the place I stayed. I apologize, but I stayed in a dormitory, similar to the experience of living on campus. Everyone knows that the south of the Yangtze River is not only famous for beautiful women. How are beautiful women cultivated? The answer is: beautiful mountains, beautiful waters, and delicious food. Although the Suzhou school I stayed at is not great, it meets the first two conditions. It is surrounded by mountains, and not far to the west is Taihu Lake. This is the ideal Suzhou that everyone imagines. Living here for a lifetime would be enough. My feeling is that Suzhou really has many advantages. It has such a good environment and a developed city. Of course, CG also took advantage of it by providing a free two-week tour of Suzhou, although some parts had to be paid for.

When you come to Suzhou, you must try the local cuisine. Honestly, as a person from Jiangsu, the best Jiangnan cuisine is still in Wuxi, and the best in Jiangbei is Yangzhou. However, because Suzhou is close to Zhejiang, I feel that the local cuisine here is quite different from Wuxi cuisine. Here are some of my thoughts. The best and most affordable dish in Suzhou cuisine should be "lion's head." Eating one can immediately make you want another bowl of rice, and it will leave you with endless aftertaste. However, when you want to eat a second one, you will find yourself getting a bit tired of it, but you can't help but take another bite. After eating it again, you will push away your rice bowl and finish it. Finally, take a sip of yellow wine, and all the fatigue will disappear. When you pat your stomach and think about eating a third one, you will realize that there is nothing left in the plate. Then, you can drink some wine and swallow your saliva. Haha.

Next, I want to talk about "stewed duck with dried bamboo shoots." This dish is said to have been eaten by Emperor Qianlong when he visited Jiangnan. He even brought a chef back with him. I think this dish is an absolute masterpiece among Jiangnan cuisine. No wonder Emperor Qianlong always went to Jiangnan.

Lastly, I want to mention a dish that everyone is familiar with - "beggar's chicken." Of course, when you go to a restaurant, it is called "chicken wrapped in yellow mud," also known as "golden chicken." This dish can be said to be the first of its kind in Jiangnan. However, I haven't had the chance to try this dish myself. If you go to Suzhou, you can try it at Wangsi Restaurant in Suzhou as a favor for me.

March 7th - Travel Day

Here, let me introduce Suzhou tourism. Although I only had one day and had to spend most of the time on the bus, before setting off, I chose three places: Suzhou Old City Center - Guanqian Street, Suzhou Gardens - Lion Grove Garden, Suzhou Culture - Hanshan Temple and the Grand Canal. These three places are the most representative.

Guanqian Street: This is the center of Suzhou's ancient city. There is a Taoist temple called Xuanmiao Temple in the center, which is why it is named Guanqian Street. This place combines commerce and tradition quite well. It is currently the commercial center of the old city area of Suzhou. Here, you can pray to any god for whatever you want. The entrance fee is 10 yuan, and you can burn incense at the Sanqing Hall in the center. However, if you just want to take a look, there are side halls around where you can find the gods you want to pray to. This place is also where many famous old brands in Suzhou are concentrated. You can buy the most authentic Suzhou specialties here. Although the prices are a bit high, I bought dried tofu and sesame cakes from Ye Shouhe's shop here. Next to it is the famous Caizhizhai. However, comparing the things I bought from both places, they were both produced by Suzhou Food Factory and even had the same address. Nowadays, old brands are just brand names. The content is basically the same. Take some back as souvenirs. I recommend a store called Lei Yunshang Pharmacy. It's not for buying souvenirs, but you can buy something called "Liu Shen Wan" here. These small pills have magical effects. You can buy them and keep them for future use. I bought a bottle of 200 pills. Of course, there are also many Suzhou restaurants here, such as Wangsi Restaurant mentioned earlier, and Deyuelou. Unfortunately, I didn't have the means to eat there. The location is in "Taijian Lane". Here, I need to explain that "taijian" does not refer to the eunuchs in the palace, but to the chief examiners in the ancient imperial examination halls. They were in charge of the pronunciation of the fourth tone. Please don't laugh when you read this. Finally, in the southwest corner of the commercial area of Guanqian, there is a garden called "Yiyuan." It is not big, but you can consider visiting it. The entrance fee is 10 yuan.

Lion Grove Garden: If your first stop in Suzhou's gardens is the Humble Administrator's Garden, I suggest you consider visiting Lion Grove Garden after that. It is about 500 meters away from the Humble Administrator's Garden. Although the garden is relatively small, the artificial mountains inside are a masterpiece of Suzhou gardens. If you have seen the grand scale of the Humble Administrator's Garden, you can consider taking a look at Lion Grove Garden. The style is completely different and will make you dizzy. It took me an hour to walk through it, and by the time I came out, I had seen almost all the scenery in the garden. It is said that Emperor Qianlong spent two hours (four hours) here and still couldn't find his way out. I truly admire the designer of the garden. He forced the emperor to stay here for a day. Of course, the emperor was not stingy and played here for a whole day. He left a pair of characters, "Zhen Qu" (meaning "truly interesting"). Why is it "Zhen Qu" instead of "Zhen You Qu"? Because here, "You" was bestowed upon a certain minister.

Hanshan Temple: This is the place that everyone is most familiar with when it comes to Suzhou. Everyone remembers the poem "Night Mooring at Maple Bridge." This poem made a failed scholar famous and also made this temple famous. Unfortunately, when I arrived at Hanshan Temple, it was already 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and they had stopped selling individual tickets. I was frustrated. Here, I recommend that you walk to the Grand Canal and feel the atmosphere of the canal. If you are hungry, you can consider eating a bowl of vegetarian noodles from a temple take-out. I didn't have the chance to enter this ancient temple, but if you have the opportunity, definitely go and visit. You might even come up with a famous line.

So far, I have shared my travel experience in Suzhou with everyone. Here are some pictures I took during my trip. I can't really show them off, so please bear with me.

Emperor Qianlong's calligraphy "Zhen Qu"

One of the peculiar lions in Lion Grove Garden

Another peculiar lion in Lion Grove Garden

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