As you know, China is a huge country that covers a surface several times bigger than many countries in the world. Traveling here entails preparing everything in advance, be really sure about dates, places you want to see, activities, travel style and money. However, none of this previous preparation you’re supposed to do was the case for my first DYI trip. I decided I’d go to Nanjing around 3-4 days before the guoqingjie 国庆节 or the Chinese National Holiday.
Why? Well, I guess that’s me. Lot of things could’ve gone wrong, but fortunately I had a great time over there. My impressions of Nanjing differ significantly of those of Beijing. First of all, it’s a much more smaller city. The massiveness and chaos that can sometimes be found in Beijing is wiped out. I guess the South’s living pace is slightly slower, just like in some other parts of the world. One doesn’t have the feeling you’re in a hurry all the time, the people around you seems to be enjoying their walk (because there’re actually walking areas and public parks just like the ones in Europe). So far I haven’t felt that way in Beijing.
So, as for being the Chinese empire capital for a while, Nanjing still has a few amazing sightseeing spots, ruins and interesting places to visit. The Ming Dynasty City Wall, for example. My friend and I were told that the best time to visit it was at night, as thousands of lights would be turned on and the atmosphere would be nicer. They were right! It kind of felt like walking through a Medieval fortress in Europe. The views were breathtaking and I had lots of fun bargaining with a man for getting some of the yuhuashi (literally, the stone of the flower rain), or yuhua colorful fine-grained pebbles that can only be found in the Nanjing area. I bought two rings made out of it, truly beautiful. We also visited Zhonghua Gate, the Jiming Temple, the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, the Former Presidential Palace (ROC of Nanjing), Fuzimiao (Confucian Temple) and Nanjing’s Porcelain Tower. This Medieval world wonder was recently rebuilt, more than 150 years after the rebels destroyed it. However, some locals can’t understand this new concept of bringing it back to life using steel and glass. I personally liked it a lot and I think it offers great views of the Qinhuai and Yangtze rivers, as well as amazing optical effects if walking through the City Wall.
I highly recommend visiting Nanjing if one has the chance. It’s a city with a very ancient history, its people are kind and welcoming, the atmosphere is inviting to go out to the streets and enjoy a ride on one of the multiple boats sailing through the city canals, or have a drink at Nanjing’s 1912, the most alive nightlife area in the city.
Thank you again for reading!
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Alejandra Sola Ávila
<div>21, from Southern Spain. Translation and Interpreting student in University of Granada.</div>
<div>Now IES Abroad student. Currently living in Beijing and studying in Bei Wai University. </div>
<div>Passionate about books, poetry, cinema, good music and travelling. I believe I was born to travel the world while helping others.</div>
<div>'Not all who wander are lost'.</div>