Day trip to Nanjing

Bullet train

The bullet train is seriously fast and so the 300km to Nanjing only takes about 90 minutes including three stops on the way. Nanjing is a major internal tourist destination; but this is off-season and a rainy day so we avoid most of the people at the attractions, although the train station is an experience in huge crowds in any case.

Our first stop was Sun Yat Sen’s Mausoleum. This was built immediately after his death in 1925 and is an enormous complex. It survived the years of communist rule and the cultural revolution thanks to Sun Yat Sen’s widow being a prominent member of the politburo and so possessed of the leverage to have Mao keep the buildings safe. Apart from a lot of steps and some grand architecture the Mausoleum is more beautiful because of its woodland surroundings than for the buildings themselves.

After a fabulous lunch at a restaurant near the science and technology university, we visited the Ming tombs. These were also set in fabulous surrounds but were moire interesting, and much, much older, buildings. The tomb houses the remains of the first Ming dynasty emperor,

Ming Tombs

Nanjing was the capital of China several times in its history, never for very long though. In fact every time Nanjing became the capital it signified the end of the regime in control at the time. Early on the Emperors built fabulous walls to protect the city and much of the wall and some of the gates remain. On a nice day a walk along the top of the wall would be a treat, in driving cold winds we cut things fairly short.

Finally we visited the Confucius Temple – which we concluded was poorly named as it’s not really a religious thing. Lovely buildings and an insight into his life, all set in an interesting part of town which is centred on the exams that people used to have to take to enter the public service.

Then it was the bullet train back to Shanghai, ending a long but fascinating day.

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