Family visit IV: Nanjing
After Beijing, Jinan and Qufu, our next stop was Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province. In Nanjing we experienced crazy weather: the first day was unbearably hot and humid, and the second day was cold and rainy.
The first day we decided to visit the Purple Mountain area. It is a huge park in a mountain with many different things to see. The most famous is the mausoleum of Sun Yat-Sen, the first president of the Republic of China at the beginning of the 20th century. Like the Confucius Temple in Qufu, the mausoleum of Sun Yat-Sen is also a very important place for Chinese people and as it was Sunday, it was packed. There were even school trips! To reach the actual mausoleum you have to climb a lot of stairs, and the view from the top must be amazing on clear days. The two times I’ve been there it was foggy.
After the mausoleum we visited another spot in the same area: the mausoleum of the first Ming dynasty emperor (who died in 1398 AD). I had never been here before and although the entrance ticket is quite expensive (70 RMB), I quite liked it. Partly because it was not too crowded, but also because some parts of the mausoleum complex were not restored at all. In many cases, in China restoring means knocking everything down and building it from scratch again, and adding a layer of bright red paint so it looks even newer. It was a nice surprise to find something untouched, with greenery growing all over, and it reminded me of the temples in Cambodia.
After quite a long walk, crossing a park, to get to the subway, we headed to the city centre, the area around Fuzimiao. It is a very touristy area, lively and with many shops and restaurants. The type of place locals never go to, haha.
The second day the weather changed, as I said above. It was cold! I think it was the only day we really needed to use the jackets. We visited the Jiming Temple and it was lovely, even in the rain. I loved the bright yellow buildings and the pagoda. I didn’t love so much the profusion of shops selling super expensive Buddhist trinkets. From the back door of the temple you can access directly the Nanjing city wall and that is what we did. This city wall is one of the best preserved in China. Most cities had their walls torn down in the 50s. After walking for almost 2 km on the wall, we left through another gate and went to have lunch in one of my favourite restaurants, Bellagio. It’s a pity we don’t have this restaurant in Suzhou yet!
There are many more things to see in Nanjing, like all the museums, the Presidential Palace and the Massacre memorial, but we didn’t have more time. Our Nanjing visit ended after lunch and we headed to the train station to get to our next destination: Shanghai.