A temple in Changshu
Last Sunday we went to Changshu, a small city one hour north of Suzhou. Well, small for Chinese standards as it has a population of over one million. I had never heard much about this city and I was expecting the usual normal-going-to-ugly Chinese mid size city. I love when I’m wrong! It reminded me of Hangzhou (minus the lake) and a quick search told me there are several interesting places to see, like a mountain-park, several gardens, temples and even a square pagoda. I made a mental note for next time, as our visit was going to be brief (we were having lunch with C.’s colleague) and it was quite sunny and hot (not my favourite weather to be outside).
After our lunch in a countryside-style restaurant at the foot of the Yu mountain, we headed to a temple nearby. Between the car park and the temple there was a plethora of restaurants with tables and chairs al fresco and people drinking tea and eating sunflower seeds. It looked like a great place to go on a Saturday evening! Sadly we don’t have anything like this in Suzhou.
The temple was called Xingfu Temple (兴福寺) and as usual I was unable to decide if it was a Buddhist temple or a Taoist temple or what, as there were both Buddhas and Chinese traditional gods in the altars. C. has the same problem, so if anyone knows the answer please tell us!
On the way to the exit there was another pond with super clean and transparent waters. Here you could purchase a bag of fish food and feed the colourful carps! The seller told us to put a bit of food inside our slightly opened fists and then dip them in the water. The carps went crazy and tried to suck the food out of your fist. It was very funny! Luckily they had no teeth and there weren’t any piranhas hiding among them.
We’ll have to go back to Changshu and see the rest of the views in the autumn!