On the way back from our visit to Suzhou, Siqi wanted to stop at the lake. We more or less achieved that, but things didn’t go as planned that day. See below for a few photos of the lake and a strange story or two about our journey back home.
Every place is a place, and connecting places, there are roads. Along the roads, there are trees, plants, buildings, bridges, lights, power lines, signs, and maybe animals. There are millions of combinations of things you can see out the window of a car. And if you’re not driving, you can take photos. Which is what I did on the road to Suzhou.
My boyfriend Siqi drove us to Suzhou for a short vacation when we had a long weekend for the Dragon Boat Festival national holiday here in China. Suzhou is famous for “Venice-like” water towns, ancient residential complexes with exquisitely landscaped courtyard gardens, and the city museum adjacent to the city’s most famous garden.
We didn’t plan very far in advance—in fact, we didn’t plan much at all—but we still enjoyed our time. The main tourist sites were completely booked and/or full of people, but we were lucky with the weather, and were able to amuse ourselves just fine by walking around in the historic district. Now that we’re more familiar with Suzhou’s geography, we know where to go when we go back, which is easy to do since Suzhou is just next door to Hangzhou.
I took photos mainly of:
- modern infrastructure on the highway (see separate post: The Road to Suzhou)
- new and old Suzhou buildings, including shops and their wares (see below),
- a few signs with amusing English (see separate post: Suzhou Signs),
- a Taoist temple (see separate post: The Xuan Miao Temple),
- Lake Tai (see separate post: Glimpse of Taihu).
I buy embroidered patches for places I visit. Here are the patches I bought this year (starting top left, going clockwise):
- New Zealand Flag (bought on my trip to Australia and New Zealand in December)
- Fox Glacier, New Zealand (bought in the town of Fox Glacier on my trip to Australia and New Zealand in December)
- Australian flag (bought on my trip to Australia for a writers’ retreat in November)
- Mammoth Cave, Kentucky (bought at Mammoth Cave on my trip to the US in October)
I collected the current coins, the current bills, a slightly older set of bills, a couple of older coins, a special $10 note, and a squashed penny from The Interislander ferry.
It seems like every government bank, bureau of printing and engraving, or monetary authority likes to taunt visitors with displays of cancelled bills no longer able to be used as money. Here’s the display at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand:
My husband and I went along with his parents on part of their whirlwind trip through New Zealand and Australia. It was one of the longer trips I’ve ever been on (8 to 27 December).
We covered a lot of ground in planes, trains, and ferries, though I feel like what we saw in Australia was just the tip of an iceberg—or rather, a continent.
I took 2270 photos.
There are lots of landscape photos, flowers and birds, a selection of Christmas trees, some architecture (including earthquake damage and graffiti in Christchurch), interesting textures, signs, and selfies with (among other things) various trees, a plush wombat, and the Sydney Opera House.
Since (even after weeding out the less good ones) there are still an overwhelming number of photos, I’ve split them up into different posts chronogeographically.
- Waiheke Island and Waiheke Ferry trip
- The Northern Explorer train trip and Wellington
- Interislander Ferry and Marlborough
- The planes to Christchurch
- The Tranzalpine Train trip
- Kumara and Hokitika
- The drive to Fox Glacier and Fox Glacier
- The drive to Queenstown and Queenstown
- The plane to Melbourne and Melbourne
- The plane to Sydney and Sydney
- My Christmas south of the Equator
- The Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney
Below are 58 photos, mostly of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Opera House tour. Exploring the structure was more interesting than I had been expecting. The shapes are regular and yet unusual at the same time. Historic, groundbreaking, stunning.