Our next target of opportunity was Nanjing. This is the historic south capital of Imperial China (Beijing being the north capital). We already had our train tickets and know our way around so it only took us 25 minutes to get to the train even accounting for it being in the middle of rush hour with one miscalculation – there was no place to buy coffee once we got inside the train station!
There is so much to see in Nanjing that you could spend days here. We only could focus on a couple of big sites located in the immense Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Park. This park has gardens, lakes, and a number of important Ming Dynasty imperial tombs plus one of the nation’s most important monuments to Sun Yat-Sen, the father of the Chinese Republic.
We wanted to avoid the problem we had in Suzhou and hoped to get lunch before we set off on our site seeing. We found that Nanjing has a Metro system and got on it right from the train taking it to one entrance to the park. As luck would have it totally by chance, a branch of a local chain that was highly rated on TripAdvisor was just yards from the Metro exit. So we we’re able to enjoy a meal of traditional Nanjing style cooking.
We did a lot of walking in the part. In the early part right after our early lunch there were very few people. It is early spring and trees are blooming and the weather was lovely. As we get to the major sites it starts to get crowded – and this is the off-season! We are the only ‘long-noses’ (that’s what Pooh tells us is Chinese slang for Westerners) there. This is the first time that we’ve had a lot of people stare at us. A number of young woman ask Pooh if they can have their picture taken with them.
Even though we have time left, we are pretty beat. We actually find a coffee place near the exit to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial and kill and hour there before taking the train back to Shanghai and getting some Japanese take out for dinner.