In mid-autumn we set off for a short trip to a nearby picturesque town called Suzhou. Its ancient gardens can be found on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and so can be parts of its city centre. All that in addition to being really close to Shanghai – we couldn’t miss out on that! We scheduled our trip for early November, for a peaceful week following the midterm exams, when the weather was still really warm, even hot on sunny days.
However, on the day of our departure everything that could go wrong, did. Just as we were leaving the flat, an email arrived saying the hotel we’d booked was full, so we quickly had to find a new one. When we got to the train station the staff checking our tickets told us we’d bought a ride for the following Saturday, not that one. Luckily, exchanging the tickets wasn’t a problem.
Unfortunately, though, our train reached a town called Suzhou after about half an hour, and we didn’t get off, knowing that our tickets said we should only get there after another two hours or so. Well, we were wrong. It turned out we’d bought tickets not only for a different day but also for an altogether different town called Suzhou! We started to panic but got off at the next stop, in a middle-of-nowhere city called Zhenjiang, managed to get everything sorted, and jumped on the earliest train back to the correct Suzhou about an hour later. So what was supposed to be a thirty minute ride ended up being a three hour journey for us. I hope we’ll know better next time!