Off to Nanjing

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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What I did
Nanjing City Wall
Ming Ruins

Flag of China  , Jiangsu,
Saturday, August 4, 2012

We managed to get to the Shanghai Train station form our hotel without any worries but trying to find our hotel in Nanjing was a little difficult. We had mapped out the subway line that we needed to take and what stop we needed to get off at, and we knew what road/intersection our hotel was meant to be on. However, when we got to the place we were meant to be, there was nothing but banks. We looked around a bit and found one rather seedy and run down place that sort of looked like a hotel. This place looked awful. Even by China's standards this place looked run down and we had the terrible sinking feeling that this may be our stop for the next couple of nights. We went into the foyer and asked the girl at the desk if this was the right place. I don’t think she spoke any English as she barked something at us in Chinese and then proceeded to ignore us as we stood there looking like the confused foreigners we were! We went back out onto the road and managed to ask a kind stranger on the street where our hotel was, in very poor Chinese, by showing him the email on my phone. He knew where it was and kindly walked us across the street to it. The hotel we had booked was right behind the seedy/scungy looking place and I know my heart sank thinking we were heading there, and then lifted immensely when our kind guide walked us past the grotty one and on to our much nicer, much more western looking hotel hidden in the alley way behind.

Once settled into our room we decided to head down to the famous Shixiqiao [shir-she-chi-ow] food street. This was a street full of great little restaurants where you can sample the local cuisine and it had a really great atmosphere. We ended up at a little restaurant down a side alley and managed to order by pointing to the pics we had seen on the menu outside. (We are still limited to pointing at pics when we want to order food here. While we now know the symbols for a few kinds of meat, the various ways that each dish is written on a menu still baffles us!) The first couple of dishes to come out were great and we were beginning to wonder where the third one was when this massive plate of food was laid down on our table. The third dish was a sort of curry/stir-fry with big bits of potato, green pepper and diced lamb/chicken/duck [even now we are not really sure!]. The vegetables were delicious but to our dismay the meat was full of bones. Neither of us are particular keen on picking the meat of the bones, call us fussy foreigners if you will, but we managed to make a bit of a dent in the plate. We were both so embarrassed when we walked out and left so much food on the table. Ah China!

The next day we decided that since we were in Nanjing, one of the four ancient capitals of China, we should go and see some "old stuff". A city guide we had found online told us that there were some ruins of the Ming Dynasty palace just up the road from our hotel so we took a walk and found them. Check out the pics. The big gate and ruins were really cool and to think that they have been around, in one form or another (a lot of the ruins/ancient attractions have been rebuilt at one point or another) since about the 14th century is really cool.

Following this we decided to check out the Nanjing South Gate. We weren’t aware before we got there, but Nanjing has a massive city wall that has been up since the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty built it some 600 years ago. The Nanjing South Gate is one of the main gates through the wall and it is built as a large fort to repel invaders. From there we were able to climb up onto the top of the wall and were even able to hire a two person bike so that we could explore along the wall a bit differently. We hired the bike for an hour and had a great time hooning along the ancient wall, see the pics. However it was a stinking hot day and I (Evan) got severely burnt due to only wearing a singlet. After the bike ride we had to head home for a shower and get changed out of our now sweat-drenched clothes – did I mention it was stinking hot?
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carly on

Cool posts! Did you guys manage to go to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall? I would recommend it for next time! Hope you guys are well x

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