Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Lingering Gardens and Summer Palace, Suzhou, China

As an ancient private garden with an area of 23,300 square meters, Lingering Garden symbolizes Qing Dynasty style,  The first owner of Lingering Garden was Xutai.  Having different owners, and names over the years, finally, since visitors liked to linger in the garden for a longer time to enjoy it, so it was eventually named the Lingering Garden.

The Lingering Garden is one of the Top Four Classical Gardens in China, combined with Summer Palace in Beijing, Chengde Mountain Resort in Hebei, and Humble Administrator’s Garden also in Suzhou.

These gardens are very tightly put together and are interspersed with buildings that you can go in and look at as distinct from just looking in from the outside.

There are lots of paths that wind around interspersed with rocks which may or may not be sculpted, and equally interspersed with trees, bushes, and small plants.  In the middle is a lake which usually has lotus plants in bloom, but they are not in season.

Below is the Green Shadow building.  There once to be an ancient maple tree and the pavilion is under the tree, and because of this, is named the Green Shade Pavilion. Perched near the hill and by the river, this pavilion has a very poetic atmosphere about it.

The gardens were built around a small lake that was filled with fish of all sizes and colours


In the east part of Lingering Garden, you can enjoy a diversity of buildings, including pavilions, corridors, open halls etc. The buildings are amazingly gorgeous and splendid while the adornments are very quaint and exquisite.  As you visit all the buildings, you will find many kinds of ornamental perforated windows which are one watching focus of Lingering Garden.

Below is the Celestial Hall of Five Peaks, and is honored as the No.1 Hall in Jiangnan.  It is the largest hall in Lingering Garden divided into two parts by a yarn-made screen.  All the beams and columns are made of costly Namu, so Celestial Hall of Five Peaks is also called Namu Palace.

The buildings were also a contrast for those built for the men.

and those for the women

In the middle of the garden was a significant rock pillar called the Cloud-crowned Peak made out of Taihu Stone, which has a character of slenderness, crinkles, transparency, and easiness to penetrate, it is said that it was a tribute to the emperor.

surrounded by certain areas of the garden that had smaller rock formations

At the end of the garden is a large collection of bonsai trees, some of which are quite exquisite.

This yard called Youyicun, and it gets its name from an ancient Chinese poem “mountains multiply and streams double back, but there must be a way to another village”.  Below is part of the Bonsai Garden where you can many bonsai plants in hundreds of shapes.

After this, we are off to the next hotel, via a truck stop.

The truck stop

These are not the same as ours, except it's a service station.  There is a building but it has a few 'fast food' shops selling either meat or dumplings or duck, with a convenience store.

We're here for a happy house stop as it's several hours drive to the hotel.

The Pujing Garden hotel 

Like all the hotels before, from the outside it looks like a million dollars, then you step inside and you get the immediate feeling that it has what I would call old-world opulence that's just a little past its use-by date.

The lifts, from the outside. belied the fact that inside they'd seen better days and were barely able to handle six or seven buses arriving at once, so the staff elevator had to been included.

The rooms when the hotel was first built would have been the height of luxury.  Now they have a sort of seedy feel about them, but the bathroom looks clean, and it's best to look no further than that.

Showers are moldy in places, doors are broken, and do not have adequate seals, and invariably leak either into the rest of the bathroom or into the main room under the carpet leaving an ugly stain.

Other than that, there's not a lot to complain about.  It is a cheap holiday after all, and the truth is you get what you pay for.


We chance our arm in going to the hotel restaurant.  It's probably one of the few places you could trust to eat.

There are those, too, you wouldn't.

This one we were suffering from an extreme lack of communication, ie no one could understand English, and the waitress looked at us with no comprehension, so it was back to the lady at the front door who could passably speak English to translate.

Steak in that restaurant is labeled 'half-cooked' for medium-rare, 'hardly cooked' for rare and 'completely cooked' for well done.  It comes with a fried egg, tomatoes, and roasted rice on a bed of onions.  There was also a bowl of what appeared to be cream of corn soup that was to die for.
Surprisingly, the food is absolutely delicious.

Four very satisfied customers.

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