travel

The Village

A real one.  There’s another ‘village’ we once saw…Whistler Village, BC.  There was that and there is this.  Whistler, an expensive ski resort with expensive restaurants and fancy hotels and shops where buying anything would cost you your month’s salary.  Don’t get me wrong. I love that place to death. It’s beautiful and we have been there at least a dozen times.  We were so in love with Canada that we have done crazy things like driving to Vancouver, then to Whistler and then taking the ferry across to Victoria all on the same day with a 2-year-old Ka.  I don’t think there has ever been a scenario when we went to Vancouver and not to Whistler. But, that is not a village.  By any standards. 

Now, Zhujiajiao…that’s a different story altogether.   An ancient water town with a history of more than 1700 years and just an hour’s drive from Shanghai.  It is known for its bridges that are more than 5 centuries old.  Everything in this village is old. The post-office, the streets, the buildings, the bridges, the traditional chinese medicine shop, the tea house, the canals.  Everything.  This place is like one of those old wise men with a long beard and an equally long mustache you read about in folktales.  Who has been there, done that.  The all-knowing wise guy who knows that nothing matters in the bigger scheme of things.  He just sits there and watches time and people come and go.  But for him, nothing really changes.  This is the kind of town that is totally at peace with itself and that peace emanates from every corner of this place and engulfs you.  Within 15 minutes of walking through the gates of this village, I felt happier, more at peace, and wished we could come and live here forever. 

I could go on and on about this place but it might  just make a little more sense for me to  post some pictures and cut back on the talking.  I know! I am aware of the fact that I have tried that before and failed miserably.  Don’t think that I overlooked that piece of fact for even a moment there.  I know it and that is why I am going to try again.  I am going to try, try, try till I succeed 🙂 So, good luck to you and now let’s see how this goes…

Here is how you get around here.  Take a boat ride to anywhere and that takes no more than 20 minutes no matter which corner of the village you need to get to.   Or you could wander through the streets and cross over the bridges.  There are no vehicles here.  Not even bicycles.  This is a place where you can get from anywhere to anywhere on foot.

The Gondolas
The Main Canal and One of the Bridges
Another one of the 36 stone bridges
A typical street

 While you are wandering aimlessly through the streets, don’t forget to stop at these teeny tiny little shops selling a million little things from scarves to bronze idols and tiny little trinkets to bronze idols… 

Trinkets
Local Musical Instruments
Pretty Scarves

After the shopping, it’s time for some grub…that is if you are brave enough.  Mr. M wasn’t, although he thought all the ware displayed in the shops looked very delicious.  I guess some people are just not risk takers (and when it comes to food, I definitely am not :)). 

  
 If  you feel like some real food and all you want is some sugar power, then there’s the candy man selling these…
Oh! and don’t forget the Old tea house.  It’s been around for ages and I am sure there must be a good reason for that. 
 
The Old Tea House
 
And that was our day trip to Zhujiajiao.  Just in case you are wondering, we did not have the guts to try out the meats or the candy.  We didn’t even go to the tea house.  There was just way too much to see and do and very little time.  But there’s always a next time and I, for one can’t wait for it…
 
 
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