Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Adventures in China: Nanjing (Part 2)

***This is a two part post. Please click here for Part One***

Hello all, and welcome to my adventures in Nanjing part two. In part one, I blogged about transportation via train, sightseeing, and the nightlife I encountered.  I will now discuss how I spent my second day in the historical city of Nanjing....

Nanjing: Day Two

Even though I had went to bed early the previous night, I ended up sleeping in later than I had expected since I woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache (luckily I had brought some medication which me). Before going back to sleep, I changed my alarm clock and altered my schedule for all the sightseeing I had planned the next day. By the time my alarm went off the next morning, I quickly jumped out of bed and ran to my first stop, the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall...

The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall
A woman holding her dying child

Series of statues before entering
To the 300,000 victims
The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall (the full name is: Memorial for Compatriots Killed in the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Forces of Aggression) is a memorial site commemorating the lives that were lost during the Nanjing Massacre of 1937.  Upon entering the memorial site, there were a series of statutes depicting various atrocities committed by the Japanese. The captions on the statue were very straightforward (for example one caption read: “Grandfather holding his teenage son who was just shot in the head”) and as I made my way to the entrance, somber music was playing from a loudspeaker.  Once I entered the site, there was a giant wall that stood before me stating the number of people who were murdered (300,000) in seven different languages.  After passing the memorial wall with all of the names of the people who had perished, I entered pit where the first bodies were discovered several decades ago. There was another larger pit that had bodies and artifacts of those that had perished very close to the first one as well as a beautiful quilt which was made to “never forget.” I entered a memorial hall with candles everywhere for visitors to pay their respects and then, I got to the exit which had large peace statue overlooking the entire site.  

Besides the memorial site, there was an incredible museum attached to it full of artifacts, documentaries and various exhibits chronicling the Nanjing massacre and the aftermath.  Since I was on a time crunch, I was unable to see as much as the museum as I would have liked, but overall, the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Site is a must-see for any tourist visiting the city of Nanjing. 

Zhongshan Men Wall

After visiting the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Site, I made my way to the second activity of the day which was Zhongshan Men (pronounced: jung shan men).  Zhonghan Men was part of a series of defense walls that were erected during the Ming dynasty many centuries ago.  A few parts of the wall are still up around Nanjing with Zhonghan Men, being one of the best preserved and one of the only two you can climb.  Once I arrived, I carefully made my way up via the small stone steps and what lied before me at the top was a breathtaking view of the city of Nanjing.  I paced up and down the wall for some time taking in the view of the city as well as, the view of the lake not too far from it.  After taking a few pictures and a few extra breaths, I made my descent back to street level since it was on to my third and fourth activities….

Zhongshan Men Wall

A view from the top

The Purple Mountains (Dr. Sun Yatsen Mausoleum and the Ming Tombs)
Dr. Sun Yatsen's Mausoleum

I heard from several people before my departure that the purple mountains and the sites there were one of the must do things while in Nanjing. Due to my time constraints, I was unsure if I was going to be able to fit them in, but I decided to try (Hey, you only live once).  The downside to this idea is that the purple mountains lie a bit beyond the city center and even though my guidebook said I could reach there by bus, I was unsure (okay scarred) to navigate the bus system so I decided my best bet was to get there by taxi.

Unfortunately, I could not get a cab to save my life. They were either full, or I was standing on the wrong side of the road. After walking up and down the street and crossing the road several times, I almost gave up, but then I saw an available cab and I jumped for joy when he stopped to let me in. I told him where I needed to go and we were off to the first site, Dr. Sun Yatsen’s mausoleum.
The mausoleum is located on a hill, with a series of steps to get to the stop (one of my coworkers said one must ‘climb to heaven’ to reach him). I walked up the steps as fast as I could and despite the number of steps, I made it to the top quite quickly.  I paid my respects and took in the moment (and I few breaths since I was winded) before making my way back down. 

Looking Down

After getting to the bottom, I continued onward to the Ming tombs, the burial place of the founder of the Ming dynasty. I only stayed for a short time since it was getting dark and I had no idea where the exit was.  After some more observations and walking, I found the exit, but once again, I had to wait some time for a cab.  I was getting scarred since time was of the essence and I still needed to get back to the city center, get my bags from the hotel, and make my way to the train station. I started to panic a bit about the possibility of missing my train, but I wouldn't have to worry too long since a taxi arrived to answer my prayers and we made the trek back to the city center.  I managed to get back to the hotel somewhat on schedule and thankfully, I made it to the train station with no problem. As soon as my train was called and I located my seat, I immediately passed out after an exhausting day of sightseeing.

Ming Tombs

All in all, my visit to Nanjing was great and it’s a city I would recommend to anyone spending some time in China! Thanks again for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Shelly, thanks for sharing all of your pics from Nanjing! I enjoyed reading about your journey, and am excited for my own trip there in a couple of months.