Wuzhen / discovering special places

Although the whole town of Wuzhen is a great visit, some places there were really special.

One of the local industries is the dyeing of materials, especially blue calico (not pink boots, despite the stunners in the photo above).

    

Large courtyards are fitted out with timber frames for drying the material after dyeing.  The traditional process uses a range of natural ingredients, including blue grass and mulberries, and in some places, this practice still continues (although is now heavily marketed as an “eco-industry”).

And when you get enough similarly-dressed people into one of the courtyards, it can look something like a Ralph Lauren photoshoot.

The laneways of Wuzhen are home to hundreds of tiny little shops, mostly selling tourist trinkets and cold beverages.

It was a nice discovery to find this little barber shop.  I guess it is for the locals, although after our long walk, a bit of a sit down would have been nice; the haircut a bonus.

    

At the end of the day, the barber closed up shop by gathering together a bunch of slats that he then inserted, one by one, into a track across the shopfront.   It’s a daily ritual carried out by all the shopkeepers across the city, and has been for possibly hundreds of years.

     

Down another laneway, we found the Sanbai Wine Workshop.  This brewery was set up in the Ming Dynasty (meaning that it is at least 450 years old), still operating, and handing out free samples of its very pungent wine.

I am guessing that Sanbai means “three white”, as my research tells me that the wine (55% alcohol content) contains not only white rice, but also white flour and white water.  Don’t ask me what white water is, apart from something you go rafting in.

    

In a space a bit over 1000 square metres, they produce more than 200 litres of wine every day, using traditional methods no less.

I didn’t really dig the wine (maybe it reminded me too much of forced drinking sessions with clients) but the building was really charming.

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