原創翻譯:龍騰網 http://www.zhiyubo.com 翻譯:超級涼快 轉載請注明出處



Did you miss me? I am back after two weeks of holidays! I’ve been visiting several cities in China with my parents, my brother, his girlfriend, two aunts, an uncle and a cousin. And C.!


The first stop in our route was Beijing. I lived there for 3 years so the city has a special place in my heart. I like going back and checking how things have changed (or not). This time I noticed there were more trees and the city was way greener than I remembered. The air was filled with that cottony thingie from the trees (I guess allergic people were not very happy about this).


Our hotel was in Huguosi hutong, a street very popular for its restaurants. It was a nice street, and the hutongs were cute.


There were old men sitting on those chairs and chatting with their neighbours almost all the time!


I am not a big fan of the Temple of Heaven, but for some people it is a must see. At least it’s quite big so it doesn’t feel very crowded.


I really wanted to revisit the Summer Palace. I think the last time I went there was in 2009. It’s a beautiful place.


We were super lucky with the Great Wall. In the end I decided to go to Huanghuacheng (黃花城), a part I had never visited before. It is located in a very pretty area with lots of greenery and a lake. And there was basically no one else! I had never seen the Great Wall so empty.


The day we went to Tiananmen and the Forbidden City.The Forbidden City is also not one of my favourite places in Beijing, but it’s a must for tourists. It was indeed crowded, with many tour groups, even though it was not a holiday. And I read that from October on they will only sell tickets online, so prepare in advance if you are planning to visit!





The second stop in our trip was Jinan. My main obxtive when designing the route was avoiding domestic flights (because they are always late), so I chose places we could reach with the fast train and that were around the Beijing-Shanghai line. And one of the obvious choices was Jinan, which is 2 hours south of Beijing.


In the city center there is an old street called Furong Jie which is very popular for snacks. We went there for dinner and it was packed! It was similar to the night markets in Taiwan. We ate stinky tofu (it had a cumin sauce and was very yummy), grilled squid, lamb skewers, spiralling fried potato, rolled frozen yogurt… I think it was quite an adventure and very fun for my family! Behind that street I saw a lot of small bars where interesting music was being played, and also some vintage clothes shops, which I had almost never seen in China.





The third stop in our trip was the town of Qufu, also located in Shandong province and only 30 minutes away from Jinan by fast train. Qufu is famous for being the hometown of Confucius as he was born somewhere nearby and his temple and family home were later established there. His tomb is also there. These three places, the Temple, Mansion and Cemetery of Confucius are included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list and can be visited within a day. The entrance ticket (for the three places) is quite expensive: 150 RMB! Not many foreign tourists come here, but the place is swarmed with Chinese tour groups as this is a very important place in their culture.


The Temple of Confucius is quite big and it reminded me of the Forbidden City in Beijing. There are several pavilions and hundreds of engraved stone steeles, souvenirs from all the emperors that came here to make rituals in veneration of Confucius. Every time an emperor visited (and it seems most of them did), they would give money so the temple could be expanded and erect an steele.


Many of the trees here are more than one thousand years old.


In one of the bigger pavilions there was a performance of the rituals done in honour of Confucius in old times.


Near the temple’s exit there was a shop where you could rent emperor style clothes and take pictures. Some people had a lot of fun there:


So many stairs, and it was so hot! The ice cream sellers were having a great day though.


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.


You don’t really get to see the tomb itsef, which supposedly is in the hill behind the mausoleum. Actually, I don’t know if the tomb has been found and opened.


Another part of the mausoleum complex is the Sacred Way, over 1.5 km long and with many stone statues of different animals and warriors/ministers that protect the way to the tomb.


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.





The last stop in our China tour before going to Suzhou for the wedding was Shanghai. Our mini Shanghai adventure started in Duolun Cultural Street, which, to be honest, I had never heard of, but it was mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide so we went to have a look. Duolun Cultural Street is in Hongkou district and during the 1920s and 30s many writers and celebrities lived there. Now it is a pedestrian street where you can see the houses from that time and statues of the writes who used to live and meet there. There are also some antique bookstores and even an al fresco “free reading space” with books.


The next day we visited the Yuyan bazaar. I had not been here in years! I always avoided it when I lived in Shanghai because it is very touristy and crowded. But in the morning of a weekday it was bearable. The bazaar and small malls are a bit like Taobao, as you can find anything there. Once, when I had just started working in Shanghai, I went there with my boss and another colleague to buy Christmas decorations for the office. There was a whole mall just for Christmas decorations, it was crazy! (And I hope it is seasonal, because I don’t think many people buy that kind of thing the rest of the year). In Yuyuan there is also a garden, but we did not visit it this time as it is basically the same as the gardens in Suzhou. I bought a dress in the bazaar and we visited the small City God Temple next to it. Our last meal in Shanghai was in one of the favourite restaurants: 外婆家 Grandma’s Home. This restaurant has several branches in Suzhou but I never go because there is always a ridiculously long line, as the food is good and cheap.





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 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).


We’ll have to go back to Changshu and see the rest of the views in the autumn!





A long time ago (5 years!) I wrote a post about how nice my mother in law was. At that time, I still had people who would sometimes tell me that she was okay because we were not married / did not have children, and that she might completely change after those events. I was scared that she would want to organise my wedding and invite 300 of her friends; I was afraid she would start nagging me about having children one minute after getting married; I was fearing she would go crazy when I got pregnant and try to force me to eat weird things or follow strange customs; I was terrified she would pester me to do the Chinese postpartum; I was dreading she would try to raise my baby as if it was hers… because that was what other people told me happened to them.


Guess what… None of that happened.


My mother in law didn’t even try to do anything regarding our wedding arrangements. (Maybe I should be offended? Haha!). I don’t remember if she invited any friends, but if she did, it was just a few. She invited more for the baby’s 100 days party and I was completely fine with that. My Chinese wedding was organised by my husband (and a wedding planner) and I loved it.


My mother in law didn’t nag me about having babies, even though I was already over 30 years old and at that age many Chinese believe it’s already impossible to conceive because your womb is old and almost mummified. I think only once she mentioned that “we should start thinking about the big decisions of life”. She didn’t even want to say it directly.


I feel really lucky. Without her, my mum life would definitely be way harder. Turns out, there are good mothers in law too.


How’s your relationship with your mother in law?