Here we go, this post is the starting point of a brand new blog! I decided to dedicate it to the first great thing I saw in China: the city of Zhouzhuang.
Zhouzhuang is a town in the Jiangsu province. During my one week of orientation with TEAN (the association with which I am traveling), we went there! It is situated approximately one hour away from Shanghai.
Basically, Zhouzhuang is a little old town constituted of old rich Chinese family houses, canals and bridges. It is a highly touristic destination which is not surprising since it is picturesque.
Interior of an ancient rich Chinese family house. This room was made for women’s suitors to come have a cup of tea. They would sit there while the woman was still in the other room, and talk through the walls.
Zhouzhuang became famous thanks to its two twin bridges: Shide Bridge and Yongan Bridge. In 80s, the painter Chen Yifei represented them on a canvas which got displayed at a New York exhibition. Since then, people have been coming from all over China, and abroad, to admire this wonderful piece of heaven also called “The Venice of the East”.
Chen Yifei’s Twin Briges (painting on canvas). Source: Globaltimes.cn
As you walk in the city, you can admire the calm canals and see the many Chinese wooden gondolas. The banks of the river are boarded with traditional Chinese shops. You can watch men meticulously forging ivory combs, women roasting crusty ducks, or artist creating typical Chinese calligraphic pieces.
We went to a popular restaurant there and ate a lot of food. One of my favorite was a whole fish the locals fished in the canals. It was steamed in tea and had a very atypic taste!
At the end of our visit, we got to actually get in a gondola. We asked the Chinese lady who was rowing to sing a Chinese song for us.
In the gondola
Zhouzhuang is definitely a destination I would recommend. It is not very far from Shanghai, but it’s a breath of fresh air and an amazing way to escape the city.