This was our last full day in China and we looked forward to spending it peacefully, in the late spring warmth, surrounded by the most greenery we'd seen in our entire stay. Guidebooks and local residents advised that the gardens of Suzhou were well worth the fast train ride from Shanghai to Suzhou. (65 miles due west) Suzhou is currently a rather industrial city and we arrived into what appeared to be an endless construction zone. Eventually, we finally found a pleasant taxi driver who drove us to the Humble Administrator's Garden. Apparently we could tour gardens for a week if we were so inclined, but this one had the highest ratings, and we did not have a week.
UNESCO's website offers this summary:
Classical Gardens of Suzhou
Classical Chinese garden design, which seeks to recreate natural landscapes in miniature, is nowhere better illustrated than in the nine gardens in the historic city of Suzhou. They are generally acknowledged to be masterpieces of the genre. Dating from the 11th-19th century, the gardens reflect the profound metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture in their meticulous design.
We spent 4 hours following the garden paths, pausing in the pavilions, and talking about how much we had enjoyed our Chinese experience.
|Stone walkways joined pavilions|
|Each window had unique latice designs carved in stone.|
|The stone patios were as detailed as the buildings.|
|The bonsai garden contained dozens of specimens.|