Other than the obvious choices of Suzhou and Hangzhou, I thought of visiting a small water town, Shaoxing. Famous for its rice wine and stinky tofu, this old water town is located about three hours south-west of Shanghai by train.
The counterpart to Hangzhou’s West Lake is actually found in Shaoxing and, perhaps logically, is called East Lake. Although East Lake is smaller in size, I found it to be as beautiful and as peaceful as the West Lake.
The city features monuments and homages to Wang Xizhi and Lu Xun, the legendary figures of Chinese literature and arts. I visited the former residence of Lu Xun and museum that now houses an exhibition of Lu Xun’s life from his youth in Shaoxing till death in Shanghai.
After visiting Lu Xun’s residence, I headed to explore the scenic areas which concentrate and show Shaoxing’s stone culture, water culture and wine culture, bridge culture, Buddhism culture, and covers three scenic spots Keyan, Jianhu Lake and Lu Town organically.
The romantic canals, wooden chairs to sit and rest: I was totally enamored by this place.
Claimed as Oriental Venice, canals and waterways grace the city along with the low hills topped with pagodas which represent traditional Chinese architecture.
The small boats are used to transport tourists from one scenic spot to another.
I simply walked through the cobblestone path and soaked in the beauty of lush green trees, beautiful flowers and still river.
Rare are the foreigners that one sees in small cities, and still we all come here for one reason, learn about China and hopefully learn Chinese. The adventure of the curious, even when no Chinese is spoken, is the world anew, like through the eyes of a baby. The baobao walks with new legs: touching, tasting and learning from everything and everybody.
That is what Shaoxing has to offer, more than a tour, a stay along the canals and waterways of a lovely city.