Su Zhou

Our first trip outside of Shanghai was to Su Zhou, about an hour's train trip southwest. "In Heaven there is Paradise, on Earth there are Hangzhou and Su Zhou," goes the saying. Su Zhou is famous for its gardens, and also for its history in the silk trade.
We went to Su Zhou Silk Museum. Here's a picture of silkworm cocoons laid out on racks prior to being spun. In the background is a spooky mummified cat that confused Cielo. When we look at this page she is still a little hesistant about discussing it.

The "alleys" of Shanghai and Su Zhou are the place you want to walk around. There are few cars, and they're generally very pretty. Here are Alison and Cielo saying hi to a couple of pet birds near the Master of Nets Garden (Wang Shi Yuan).

And here we are in Wang Shi Yuan. This is the smallest garden in Su Zhou, but everyone (i.e., enthusiasts of classical Chinese gardens) agrees it's the nicest. The garden was started in 1140.

Another nice view of Wang Shi Yuan.

Wang Shi Yuan had some very nice stone mosaic work. Here's Cielo standing on a fish ("fish!").

This rock formation is both nice to look at and the stairs up to the second floor of the building.

Cielo loved this tunnel - she went through it with Dad a few times, and here she is going through with Mom.

After exploring Wang Shi Yuan, we took a nice break. Although the horrific dried mango snack we bought (only Alison was unfortunate enough to taste it) did not hit the spot ("consistency of a dried orange skin with twigs in it with Super Sour Flavor Powder coating").

Our final observation from Su Zhou was that they had a great system of traffic lights (and people observed them a lot more than they do in Shanghai). On the major streets, there are green- and red-colored countdown timers for the green and red lights, respectively, and there are even bicycle signals - shaped like bicycles!