We seem to be collecting canal cruises! The latest addition to our list was the Grand Canal in Suzhou, which was originally built to carry goods and produce to Beijing. We only did the tiniest fraction of it, of course; we sailed between waterside houses slightly reminiscent of Venice. I wonder if anyone offers canal cruises all the way to Beijing? That might be worth doing.
Indeed, when the Venetian explorer Marco Polo came to Suzhou, he called it the ‘Chinese Venice’
(It seems everywhere with a canal gets compared with Venice; I call Venice ‘The Birmingham of the south’!)
The boat dropped us at the Silk Museum, where they showed us the manufacture and weaving of silk. Then into the showroom to see … and of course, buy the finished product. We came away with a quilt and a cover … wondrously comfortable in Summer, although the mind boggles a bit at the thought of how many silkworms were used in its making.
And, they told us how to tell real silk from artificial silk. Put a match to it! Real silk will burn; the artificial stuff will just melt. But, either way, you’ve still got a hole in your shirt afterwards.