Wednesday, July 31, 2013

suzhou, the venice of china

"the venice of the east" soon as i heard that nickname for the city of suzhou, i knew we had to go!
this city was founded in 514 BC..what?! the canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and gardens were breathtaking. it is also a huge center for silk, so we were able to visit a silk factory and actually see the process of making silk from silkworms. i was blown away by the fact that they are still doing this by hand!
we loved exploring the canals & narrow alleyways
we were too hot to walk back along the canal, so chase found us some scooter rides with the nicest local chinese people! going over those canals at high speeds while holding on to a stranger was one of the best/ funniest/ most memorable moments. those are the moments i love travel for!
after exploring the canals, we headed to the most beautiful//huge garden and walked around it forever. i was obsessed with the giant lily pads, the elegant boats, and finding shade :)
more new friends
last but not least, we stopped by the famous silk factory.
i really felt so naive that i had never considered how silk was still made from silkworms.
the women were unwrapping the cocoons of silk made by the silk worms, and then putting it into machines to stretch it out and turn it into the highest quality silk!
after such a fun day we headed back to dinner at this pretty restaurant..
and then crossed the river into town to get to our next hotel.
suzhou was such a nice break from the bustling cities we had been in.
we loved it! next came hangzhou, which was even prettier!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

city of xi'an

this 3,000-year old city was quite the place to visit.
the highlight was of course the terra cotta warriors, but we saw a lot of other sights as well.
this is where we did the chinese calligraphy lessons! after that, we visited the city wall {and rented an old chinese tandem...} we also visited the wild goose pagoda and met a lot of darling local people. there is a lot of construction happening in this city, so it was pretty polluted and crowded- but we enjoyed it! if we were to do it again, we might have shortened our time in xi'an just to see the warriors, stop through the city, and be on our way. since we flew in from beijing, we planned a little bit more time to see it all.
^^ i like this view! :) chase was always perched somewhere, getting his gopro shots ^^
^^ silk rug market ^^
^^ i think he should have bought this ^^
^^ we rented a tandem and biked the city wall...pretty memorable! ^^
^^ the xi'an city wall at night ^^
^^ everywhere he goes, chase makes new friends. he saw this man doing an exercise with this racket, so took it upon himself to learn a new skill..the man loved it! ^^
^^ a common sight in china-- this is how they potty train! {AKA they don't!} ^^
^^ chase was constantly at the front with our tour guide asking questions and leading the way. i love how curious + friendly he is, always wanting to learn more! ^^
^^ pretty lily pond at the wild goose pagoda ^^
^^ in xi'an we finally found some ice cream..can you tell how happy he was? devouring :) ^^
^^ a shot of our tour group in xi'an ^^
^^ we explored the muslim quarter in xi'an, it was pretty crazy! ^^
next, we headed to suzhou. stay tuned for that!