Wuzhen – a water village

23 May

In April we held a large event for our vendor community.  Because we called on resources all across China we decided to do a team building event the following day and take advantage of our colleagues from different places all being together.  The location of the offsite was Wuzhen – a water village about two hours outside of Shanghai.

I had been to another water village Zhujiajiao four years before, but that visit had occurred in January so I had never really gotten the full sense of the magic of the water villages before.

For the purist, Wuzhen is not a living water village anymore.  Most of the original houses have been turned into restaurants or guest houses and there are boutique shops that line the streets of the town.  There are myriads of shoe stores, sweet shops selling local delicacies and expensive water taxis that will take the well heeled tourist from one side to the other.  After seeing it though, that doesn’t matter to me – the beauty and peacefulness that I found there made it one of the least crowded and enjoyable mornings I have spent in China thus far.

It started the night we arrived where above the reception area were lanterns representing a dragon and a phoenix.  They illuminated the dark room and gave a sense of magic to the space.

The fire of the dragon

The fire of the dragon

was complemented by the beauty of the phoenix

was complemented by the beauty of the phoenix

That continued into my hotel room where the paintings and four poster bed grounded the space into traditional Chinese history.  From my window I could get a sense of one of the channels of the river running close by, but I couldn’t see into the darkness.  The hotel had planks embedded into the floor in the hallways which gave me the impression that I was walking over a bridge to my room.

Traditional Chinese art on the walls of the room grounded by the wood floors and carved pillars.

Traditional Chinese art on the walls of the room grounded by the wood floors and carved pillars.

The next morning before my meetings I went to wander the paths of the village.  I didn’t have a lot of time, so I tried to see as much as I could.

First view of the canal and the typical transportation by boat

First view of the canal and the typical transportation by boat

Peaceful water with reflection of the trees

Peaceful water with reflection of the trees

Mist rising off the water - the canals are fairly wide

Mist rising off the water – the canals are fairly wide

But the streets are very narrow - you can even touch both sides

But the streets are very narrow – you can even touch both sides

Bridges would cross from one side to the other

Bridges would cross from one side to the other

With gardens on some of the dry land, beckoning me in

With gardens on some of the dry land, beckoning me in

And scenes carved into the wall with bamboo behind reminding me of an earlier time

And scenes carved into the wall with bamboo behind reminding me of an earlier time

The mix of water and lanes and bridges with gardens just on the other side made me feel glad to be alive.  There was mist rising over the rivers and yet I could see the reflections of the trees in the canals.  It was a special place.

Wuzhen also happens to represent the elements which is the weekly travel theme at Where’s My Backpack – the Four Elements.  There is the water of the canals, the wood of the houses, the fire of the lanterns, earth of the bricks that make up the streets and the mist which rises through the air over the entire scene.   To see how others visualized the elements, please feel free to click on the link.

It also links up with the Weekly Photo Challenge this week which is Escape.  For that morning I escaped the loudness, the pollution, the busyness of Shanghai and was able to see a more natural world.  Wuzhen is a true escape from Shanghai.

Where do you escape to?

A final look

A final look

Advertisements

16 Responses to “Wuzhen – a water village”

  1. Every Day Adventures in Asia May 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Enchanting!

    Carissa Hickling

    CarissaHickling@gmail.com |+91 9820897418 | Mumbai, India

    Profile LinkedIn |Blog Every Day Adventures in Asia (Mostly)

    • gkm2011 May 23, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

      It was a great place, would highly recommend it as a one night getaway from Shanghai!

  2. ladyofthecakes May 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Lovely pics 🙂

    • gkm2011 May 23, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      Thank you! I remain amazed that my phone’s camera takes such nice photos.

      • ladyofthecakes May 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

        For phone camera photos, they are excellent!! Took me back to an outing with some friends a few years ago, to a ‘water village style’ place very close to Beijing. Can’t remember the name, though… I’m so crap 😦

      • gkm2011 May 24, 2013 at 8:14 am #

        I am not as familiar with the outskirts of Beijing, but will keep my ears open and let you know. Hope you enjoyed it though!

  3. sarahinguangzhou May 23, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    Nice photos! Wuzhen was the first place in China I ever travelled to on my own. I vividly remember the stress of figuring out the bus to get and worrying about getting lost. Don’t remember much about the place itself; I was too busy praising myself for managing to actually get there.

    • gkm2011 May 23, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

      Solo trips can be truly amazing, congrats on surviving!

  4. expatlingo May 23, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Beautiful! I’ll have to add Wuzhen to the ever-growing list…

    • gkm2011 May 23, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

      Please do and let me know if you’re in the area!

      • expatlingo May 23, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

        Thanks! Would love to say hi when I pass through Shanghai at some point!

  5. Valerie May 23, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    Beautiful pics!

    • gkm2011 May 24, 2013 at 8:12 am #

      Thank you! It was a quick trip but very satisfying. I would go back.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Weekly Photo Challenge: My favorite Escape | Humbled Pie - May 24, 2013

    […] Wuzhen – a water village | 中国 Jumble […]

  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape | Ryan Photography - May 28, 2013

    […] Wuzhen – a water village | 中国 Jumble […]

  3. Two years later – the 8th quarter review | 中国 Jumble - July 21, 2013

    […] post that I wanted to call out was team building trip to Wuzhen, one of the water villages around Shanghai.  Finding peace outside the city is always important […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Mad Woman in the Attic

stories of a serial expat and solo traveller

Marta lives in China

8+ years and counting!

Foreign Sanctuary

Lead and Live a Life Less Ordinary

Crazy Chinese Family

My crazy Chinese Family I married into...

Writing Between the Lines

Life From a Writer's POV

A Kick In The Butt

Advice on all things FITNESS by Personal Trainer Ariana Dane

China Elevator Stories

Conversations with locals in China

Chasing Sunsets

Current Location: The Daraja Academy; Nanyuki, Kenya

%d bloggers like this: