Introduction and Flight on AA
Google Maps in China
Sheraton Changzhou Xinbei Review
Intro to China High Speed Rail (CSR)
Cantonese Food and Ramen in Shanghai
Intercontinental Shanghai Puxi Review
Nanjing (City Wall, Nanjing Massacre Memorial, Purple Mountain)
Suzhou (Tiger Hill, Humble Administrator’s Garden)
Changzhou Tianning Temple
Hangzhou (West Lake, Leifeng Pagoda, Longjing tea)
Flight Home and After Thoughts
So for my weekend, I had planned a day trip to Nanjing and another day trip to Suzhou, which would be in my next post. I have been staying in Sheraton Changzhou for about two weeks and will be traveling from there. Our Changzhou office can order HSR tickets through a travel agency with a 5CNY surcharge, which is great as I won’t have to wait on long lines to get a ticket. I only booked the ticket to Nanjing but didn’t for the return trip. I just made sure to get to the station a few hours before the last train to catch one back to Changzhou.
I took the train from Changzhou North as it was a quicker trip. By now, I learned how to say Changzhou North Station pretty well and knew the route well so i was comfortable taking a taxi, even though the hotel had told them where to go anyway.
The train ride was smooth and quiet as I was the only one in Business Class out of the roughly 100 seats on the train car. I guess no one really wants to go to Nanjing on a Saturday morning.
Even though the maximum speed was 300kmh, the train speed could be limited over certain track sections like sharp turns or tunnels. The route to Nanjing involves a few tunnels and sharp turns so the speed was limited down to about 170kmh but it still only took about 50 minutes from Changzhou.
I took the train to Nanjing Railway South Station, which was a bit outside of town. I took the opportunity to visit the East Gate and also Confucious Temple on my way to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial and Museum. I quickly learned in Nanjing that the Chinese were amazing at building walls:
The ramp seen below allows horses to go up on the wall and widely used in the wall designs.
Below is the only way into Nanjing through the wall. As you can see, there were multiple layers of rooms and doors so attackers would have to fight through levels of soldiers before reaching inside the city walls.
I walked to the Confucious Temple but found the Jiangsu Examination Museum. This was a gathering place for test takers to take the imperal exam. It would place you into certain academic positions that paid handsomely at the time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_examination
As you can see, the testing center was huge. It took up acres of land and it was filled with rows of alcoves for students to take the test. They would enter through the main entrance and was searched for cheating materials. Each student would have to bring all their pens, food, and other supplies in order to take the exam, which was often a few days. They would not be able to leave until they were done.
Yep leave it up to the Chinese to create an Imperal Exam Hall of Fame. These were students who were the top scorers and then went on to be very influential in society.
There was a series of exams in order to get to a high level scholar. Many did not get passed the first exam and only the top students would be allowed to take the higher level exams.
Cheating became a rampant issue for this exam. The exam relied heavily on memorizing classical Chinese literature and those who could just write it down had a huge advantage on the exam.
The alcoves were not indoors but sheltered from the rain. The tight rows keeps much of the wind out.
You can dress up on costumes and take pictures in the testing booths.
Here depicts what a student would look like. The food would be to the right (the student’s left)
Some exams would take up to three days so students would have to sleep there as well.
Then I went to Zhanyuan Garden, which was on the way to the train metro station. It was a nice small exhibit.
I took the Metro from line 1 to line 2 to Nanjing Massacre Museum.
Nanjing Massacre Museum and Memorial is a short walk from the train station.
There was a long line but the wait was only about 30 minutes. The museum is free and there is some walking involved inside the museum as it is two floors but there is a continuous walk through the museum. Most of the exhibits has multiple languages including English and Japanese. There are many Japanese tourists here as well.
The museum does a good job piecing all of the history concerning the Nanjing massacre and the events leading up to it in 1937. The museum itself is built over a large burial site and is on display at the entrance.
There is a great hall filled with books worth of names that were killed in the massacre.
Once you leave the exhibit, there is a somber memorial near the exit of the museum.
The next destination was Purple Mountain. I wanted to go up to see the observatory but by the time I hiked up, it was closed.
I took the Metro to Daxinggong and walked by the Presidental Palace, Gujiming Temple and the another part of the wall on our way to the Purple Mountain.
The Gujiming Temple was also closed so I headed to the Mountain.
There was a wall just west of Purple Mountain. Refer to the Google Map. I walked along it to get to Purple Mountain and it offered great views of Nanjing.
The other side of the wall. There was an admission booth on this side as well.
I hiked up besides the tram and took the main road up to the top.
I decided to explore a bit behind the observatory and took another way down. This was a big mistake as it was after sunset and it got dark pretty quickly. I managed to use my phone to find on the satellite a way down the mountain on the other side. I found a route through the trees and managed to head towards it. It was a small dirt road that ran below the observatory. Surprisingly, many groups of people go up there to drink and hang out. They have the advantage of a car. I have an advantage of my micro flash on my cell phone. Luckily I made it back to the tram station and back into civilization. I have never been so glad to see other people after walking about 30 minutes in total darkness, minus the occasional headlight from passing cars.
I decided to walk to Nanjing Railway Station using this route:
It was a long walk after a long day hiking up and down Purple Mountain. It was short wait for the train ticket but couldn’t make it for the train that was leaving about 15 minutes after I arrived at the station. I had to take the next one an hour later. I did get a quick meal at the station before security and then got on the train. I caught a taxi after I arrived in Changzhou and went straight to bed. The following day I had a similar day planned to go to Suzhou.