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1. October 2018. It was day four of China’s Golden Week and Jaylin and I awoke to another perfect blue sky after some serious sleep in the hotel. We’d been utterly exhausted tackling the multitudes at Nanjing’s heavyweight attractions and I had no desire at all for a repeat performance. I felt desperate for something low-key, a place where I could enjoy some space and gather my thoughts away from the braying masses. Jaylin didn’t even want to leave the hotel, so I headed out solo to see the city’s famous Yangtze River Bridge. Opened in late 1968, this 1,576 meter structure is one of China’s longest bridges and can be accessed via the River Bridge Park & Museum. The Chinese characters on the side of the building translate as “Long live the great unity of the world people!”
2. October 2018. The park is a fair distance outside the city centre and not a particularly popular attraction, which sounded great! On arrival I bought a ticket from the office at the entrance and was only then informed that the sculpture park and museum were closed for renovations! As if that wasn’t enough, I also found out that the bridge’s pedestrian walkways were inaccessible. Oh China, you do it to me so often, just another example of what Wonderboy and I call The Inconvenience Committee. With my mood now rapidly souring, I took a stroll through the section of uninspiring park that was still open and wondered how I’d even be able to view the bridge properly. I was just starting to lose hope when I caught sight of some Chinese tourists clambering over a section of wall into the woods. Hmm, ok. So I let them disappear before hopping over myself to see what lay beyond.
3. October 2018. A five-minute walk through the trees brought me out onto a grubby beach with kickass views of the entire bridge. There were a few fishermen dotted about, a family picnicking under a tree and a dude sittin’ doin’ nothin’ on a wooden chair, garbage strewn around his weathered boots.
4. October 2018. The bridge is a double decker structure with a 4.5km road on top and a train line beneath. In fact, I got to see a train rumble across as I stood there taking in the view. I’d read that Yangtze River Bridge is the world’s number one suicide spot. Fortunately I didn’t witness anyone throwing themselves off that day, nor indeed did I catch sight of Nanjing’s famous suicide watchman, a local guy who can usually be found right here on this stone slope keeping an eye on proceedings. Apparently he’s saved around two hundred people over the years, though I guess even heroes need some time off during Golden Week.
5. October 2018. The further down the beach you go the quieter it gets, a passing local man was kind enough to take this photo for me. Apparently the River Bridge Park & Museum will reopen in late December, while the beach and woods will also be getting a much-needed cleanup in the near future. I paid 5RMB (£0.55/€0.62/$0.70) to enter that day. The nearest subway stop is Shangyuanmen (Line 3, green), from there it’s a 2km walk. If you’re coming by taxi ask to be dropped off at Nanbao Gongyuan.
Like this? Check out my many other pieces from around Nanjing.
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