After lunch, we walked around Old City, which is kind of like an outdoor shopping mall with old Chinese style rooftops to make it look old. It was really crowded and touristy. I had warned Mike that the last time I was in China, I was surprised at how little foreign tourists there were, and that he probably would be the only white guy most places we went. Definitely still true!
The main attraction in Old City (besides the food) is 400-year-old Yu Yuan garden. It’s deceivingly larger than you think and inside are all these little alcoves and gardens that make for great wandering around. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in late Spring with all the flowers blooming. I had told Mike: see that huge rock with all the holes in them? Chinese Emperors loved them and you’re going to see them all over the place! He didn’t believe me until we went through the garden and they are literally on every corner. The rocks are really distinct; they are all natural formations and usually excavated from a lake bottom and transported to the garden and given as gifts. The formations take ages to erode, so they are valued for their natural beauty and age.
The garden was a nice break from the hubbub outside and you really felt removed from the city. Entrance for two: $8.