The bus trip took about 5 1/2 hours from Shanghai. They show a Chinese film – the same one several times. You stop once for lunch – the rest stops are very well fitted-out and have toilets (no paper), superette and a restaurant. Don’t be late back – they will leave without you.
When I arrived in Nanjing there was an industrial-scale traffic jam. The driver told us to get out in some random place. What to do? I took a random car to my hostel. I stayed at Traveller’s Soul Inn. It’s a bit out of town, and about 15min walk from the metro station, but it’s nice. They are in a restored 19th century industrial park – quiet, and picturesque. They have a coin laundry and all the furniture is wood, so it smells nice, and the air conditioning and hot water work.
I walked around in the afternoon. There were some boot blacks on the street so I had my sandals polished. How civilised! They also offered to clean my ears out, with the same tools they had used on all their previous clients. Er . . no.
There’s also a large historic district around a Confucian temple. It was packed with tourists. There’s not much to see – the temple charges admission. The imperial academy was slightly interesting – it’s where the mandarins sat their final exams.
In the area there are stone stelae where mandarins carved their final exam essays.
For dinner I had some noodles that turned out to be cold, with what turned out to be chilli paste on them. To cool down I had an icecream. It turned out to have neither ice nor cream. Also green packets of potato chips in China can be wasabi flavoured, and they’re strong. And Gatorade in a gold bottle is tea-flavoured.