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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.