Being reputed to be the paradise on earth, Suzhou is one of the greatest residences for human. But I believe that Mudu Ancient Water Town, which located in the west of Suzhou City, is actually the highlight of Suzhou. It has a history of more than 2500 years, and it has been served as a witness of the War between Wu State and Yue State (this two states are both located around the area of Suzhou during the years around BC 221). There is a legend for this water town. Xi Shi, the most beautiful lady in the Yue State, was presented as a spy by the King of Yue to the King of Wu in the purpose of winning the war. Captivated by the beauty of Xi Shi, the King of Wu overused the labor and prosperity of his state to build lots of palaces. A great amount of wood was delivered into Wu State, making the river blocked by wood, and the place where the river was blocked is Mudu Watertown, and that's why Mudu got its name, meaning "blocked by wood".
When speaking of the landscapes of Mudu, people may usually mention the attractions like Guanwa Palace on the top of Lingyan Hill (Divine Cliff Hill), and the clear spring, ancient maple trees and weird rocks on Tianping Hill, but there is another kind of fun of walking along the streets of Mudu.
I started the journey from walking by the Xiangxi River (Fragrant River), which tells the beautiful story of Xi Shi, has drifted through a long history. I went into the area where many artists, scholars, and rich men lived in the ancient times. The location is perfect there, with Lingyan Hill in the back, and the water of Xujiang River (a branch of Lake Tai) flowing in the front. It would be the best place for people who would like to walk out of reality temporarily. Many government officials in ancient China built villas there, and now those villas have become famous attractions in Mudu. Among which, the highlights are Yan Family Garden, Hongyinshan House, Gusong Garden, Bangyan Mansion and Lingyan Hill House. They are all preserved quite well, and open to the public.
The feeling of walking along the streets of Mudu could be summarized as sweet and warm, because of the smell of jujube paste and sugar Zongzi (a kind of cake made with rice and stuffed with meet or sugar). It gave me a feeling of walking in my hometown, which is so great, for I have not been home more than ten years and finally I stopped to appreciate the Yan Family Garden.
The garden was consisted of four parts, located with the order of running from the west to the north and to the east, and they all had their own unique features. The trees and flowers were sending out fragrant smells, which refreshed me a lot, the feeling was like the comfort of my mom. The greenness among the garden gave me the feeling of hope, and eased my sorrow in the past days.
Walking out of the garden, I was another time impressed by the magnificence of water town landscapes. Walking in Mudu Water town to enjoy the feeling of shuttling between the ancient times and modern times made me remember this enthralling town forever.
The tour of Mudu water town, walking around the famous gardens did really give me a baptism of my heart, which also made me have the instant thought of escaping the society, but I understood that I have my family to take care of, I couldn't just drop all my responsibilities, and the tour is just a temporary escape of the reality, like a dream which would have to be waked up in the morning, but the memory is something that couldn't be easily erased.