Travel Memories: Zhouzhuang

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an initiative that invites bloggers to post an alphabet-themed post every day (excluding Sundays) during the month of April.  As part of this challenge, I’ll be sharing some of my travel memories to known and unknown places in the hope to inspire your travel dreams.

3-cityofcanals

City of Canals, Zhouzhuang

Z is for… Zhouzhuang (China)

My trip to China was an amazingly epic journey. It was life changing, probably because this was my first experience in a developing country. I didn’t see devastatingly poor, which is what one might imagine in a developing country. Instead I saw a world so unlike anything I had ever encountered. The day to day rituals, the look and construction of the buildings, the densely polluted air, the customs of the people and the history were so unlike my mental image of China.

Zhouzhuang

Zhouzhuang – taken in the days of film when you had to make a decision to go with black and white or color while changing rolls!

I started my trip in China on a tour, but finished the last two weeks on my own. Travel in China in 2001 was not easy. No one spoke English, travel was restricted and babies would cry upon seeing my smiling blonde haired blue eyed face! So finding my way to this beautiful water town took a bit of luck, patience and hard work!

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Life on the canals of Zhouzhuang

Zhouzhuang is one of many towns in the world dubbed “Venice of the East”. The small town reminds me of what Amsterdam might have been way back in time. It is much more of a tourist attraction these days, but on my visit I was the only foreigner in town.

Zhouzhuang

I could watch the gondolas maneuver up and down the canals all day, Zhouzhuang

A highlight for me was taking a small boat ride around the very old and picturesque canals with the melancholic willow trees drooping over the water. Crossing over and under the stone bridges by foot or boat, exploring temples and the nooks and crannies of this village was one of my favorite days in China.

Zhouzhuang

In a corner between buildings I happened across this offering set up with burnt out candles. You never know what you will find when you explore off the beaten path.

If you are in Shanghai or visiting the nearby town of Suzhou this is a great place to pop in for an afternoon of wondering around.

Other posts in the A to Z Challenge:

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Belchite, Spain
Czesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Devi Garh Hotel, Udaipur India
Emeishan, China
Flores, Guatemala
Gimmelwald, Switzerland
Highway 1, California
Istanbul, Turkey
Jaisalmer, India
Kashmir, India
Lily Beach Resort & Spa, Maldives
Machu Picchu, Peru
Niraamaya Retreats, Thekkady Kerala India
Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima Japan
Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
Queso – all over the world
Red Square, Moscow Russia
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona Spain
Tonle Sap Floating Village, Cambodia
Ubud, Bali Indonesia
Varanasi, India
World’s Most Dangerous Road, Bolivia
Xcaret, Mexico
Yudanaka, Japan

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7 Responses to “Travel Memories: Zhouzhuang”

  1. Heather Says:

    I visited China on a tour, and I can’t imagine how difficult it was by yourself. Especially in 2001! But it looks like the challenges were worth it, your photos of Zhouzhuang are beautiful. I especially like the one of the burnt-out offerings. The red pops right out of the grey concrete surroundings.
    Congratulations on finishing A to Z!

    Reply

    • kkowen Says:

      Thanks Heather! It was definitely an adventure traveling on my own, but since I had been there for a weeks on a tour already, I had a better sense of how to navigate things. I can’t wait to go back and see how much it has changed now.

      Reply

  2. Claire Noland Says:

    Hi, I just found your blog on the A-Z Challenge. Great posts – I’m going to go back and read them all.
    I put a link to your blog on mine
    Claire at A Field Trip Life

    Reply

    • kkowen Says:

      Thanks for the comment and stopping by Claire! I’m feeling a little sad the challenge is over! But I’m also inspired to share more stories from the road!

      Reply

  3. Andrea Says:

    I am 90% sure I’ve been here once- it looks so familiar! Regardless, I love your photos! I was with my blonde, blue-eyed friend and we got to meet so many more people because they all wanted to talk to her.

    Reply

  4. Sophie Says:

    I still haven’t been to a water town here in China but i’ve been reading that Beijing has some nearby so will giive that a try in the next month or so!

    Reply

    • kkowen Says:

      Such an amazing experience to be in China for a longer period of time. I was there 6 weeks and barely scratched the surface!

      Reply

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