After breakfast, we got on the bus to visit Lingering Garden. This garden was built over 500 years ago. It was very beautiful with many flowers, trees, and a pond. One of the most beautiful areas had bonsai trees. These trees were hundreds of years old but very small. Mr. Z had me set in the branches of a couple of trees so he could take my picture. Throughout the garden, all the trees and flowers were starting to flower.
Next, we visited the Suzhou Silk Factory. We were shown the process of making silk. It was very interesting. After collecting the cocoons, works boil eight of them together. Then they use a brush to stir them around in the pot. By doing that, the end of the string of silk gets caught in the brush. Once they have eight threads, they begin unrolling them on a spool. Each cocoon holds about a mile of silk thread.
In the factory, they had lots of items for sale on display. Things like sheets, pillow cases, and comforters could be bought. Mr. Z joked if they had ones in a camouflage pattern he might have bought some. I thought he should have bought a set of the Kelly green ones. Haaa
A short ride in the bus took us to Tiger Hill. It's name comes from the shape of the small mountain. Our guide told us from the air it resembles a crouching tiger. On the top of the hill was a large pagoda. Pagodas are temples used by Buddhists. To get to the temple, we had to climb up 108 steps. Lore has it that if you count the steps as you walk up, your troubles will be gone by the time you get there. All around the site, there were lots of flowers on display in recognition of spring.
Next, we took a boat ride on the Grand Canal. It is a man made river built long ago to be able to move things from one part of China to another. It is over 1000 miles long. We only took a short ride though. Along the way, we stopped to see traditional Chinese shopping on the street. People were buying all kinds of things but mainly foods. They could buy anything from breads and nuts to live fish, turtles, and frogs. Mr. Z took some pictures so you can see what it was like. It was very crowded with people and motorbikes.
Our final stop of the day was at the National Embroidery Institute. Here we saw how workers stitched pretty images with silk thread on silk cloth. Some of the work was as clear as a picture. For those, it might take several years to complete one. Others were simpler and took much less time. Students spend five years in study before they can become masters at the craft. Mr. Z found a nice small, embroidered horse to bring back. I got my picture taken beside a larger one.
Now we are on the bus for a three hour ride to Hangzhou.