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visiting the jewel of Hangzhou


View Shanghai and lots more - 2011 on Ils1976's travel map.

I was a little bit curious what the weather would be like today and couldn't wait to open the curtains. There is a Dutch saying that says the following: "na regen komt zonneschijn" (roughly translated into English it means, after rain there is always sun), well it wasn't all true, but I was still happy to see that there was no rain. The sun wasn't exactly shining, it was greyish and cloudy, but at least it was dry!

Tania's cold unfortunately wasn't getting better, so she took some medicine and hoped it would get her trough the day.

After having breakfast we went straight to the West Lake. We planned a half day of walking around it and afterwards we head back to Shanghai with one of the local trains.

I must say that it was quite a difference with yesterday coz I could finally see the pagoda and the many boats on the lake. It was amazing! Still, there was alot of wind at the lakeshore, but I didn't mind so much. Mingzhu on the other hand looked like she was going to turn into a popsicle any minute. Lucky for her, my brother gave his fleece so that she could warm up. Isn't he a first class gentleman! :)

Along the lakeshore we came upon the temple and we went to have a look to see if it was open. Unfortunately it wasn't, but much like in Shanghai, the elders were practising some kind of Tai Chi. It was nice to look at and we took some more pictures.

There are alot of bridges along the lake and all very photogenic. I also liked the bronze statues we met during our walk.

The later it got, the more people we saw. Not too surprising, of course, we saw lots of Asian tourists but also the local senior citizens. The latter were forming all sorts of groups. You had your dance class, singing lessons, local choirs, groups practising the daily Tai Chi or yoga, even playing cards or playing chess, it was quite fun to watch it all.

Then we noticed some Chinese characters on the ground and saw that a few of those senior citizens walked around with a bucket full of water and a stick. A strange thing to do of course, but we already saw alot of strange things during our holiday, so in a way we were getting used to it. At the end of the stick there was a kind of "cotton ball" attached covered with fabric. They dipped the ball into the water and began to write Chinese characters on the ground. It is quite fun to watch actually, people can write whatever they want, after a few minutes it automatically disappears.

A few meters further down the lakeshore, one of them asked us from which country we were and all of a sudden he began to write the word Belgium on the ground in Chinese characters. This of course, attracted lots of people and everyone gets a bit curious. When he asked us to spell it in our language Tania took over and also gave it a try, much to the joy of the many bystanders.  

During our walk we saw a pagoda emerge on the other side of the lake. The closer we got, the more interested we became to go and visit it.
The Boachu pagoda is situated upon a hill, this meant of course that we had to do another climb. I must say that I still was a little bit stiff from our Yellow Mountains adventure and I wasn't the only one! But I gave it a try and in the end I managed to reach the pagoda. It's a pity that it is closed, but the view from this place is quite amazing. From here you can see a large part of the city of Hangzhou.

After such a climb I've got a little bit hungry, but unfortunately we didn't find something on the way. Sometimes we passed a few foodstalls, but nothing for my taste. All those Chinese dry food packages, hundred year old eggs and even crisps with duckflavour, not for me thank you very much.

I wasn't the only one getting really hungry, Tania had the same problem. After a while we were talking so much about food that it became even worse. But still the foodstalls couldn't tempt us to buy something.

We kept on walking along the lake and because we were almost at the Leifeng Pagoda we decided to go and visit this place first and than seek something to eat. After a quick visit of the pagoda and it's amazing views from the top we took a taxi ride back to the center and amazingly enough ended up in the same place we ate yesterday ... yes, the noodles place. We all took some "slurping" noodles this time and I decided to eat it like it is meant to be, with lots of slurping noices! :)

We walked back to the hotel for the last time, picked up our bags and went looking for a taxi to bring us to the train station. For some reason we couldn't get one and Tania suggested to go back to the hotel and ask at the reception if they could get us a taxi, when all of a sudden someone at the hotel told us that we better walk to the busstation. He told us that at this time of day all the taxi drivers had a change of shifts, so ... noone would take us. He gave us directions to the busstation and we went on our way, still trying to take a taxi when we saw one, but no luck. They just wouldn't take us.

In my mind I was saying all the curses I knew, and how on earth it was possible we ended up in such a mess. What a hassle to find a ride!

When we were close to the busstation our luck changed. My brother saw a taxi where the drivers changed shifts and hurried of to it ... "blocking" the car till Mingzhu arrived to translate and you can call it a little miracle because we finally found a driver who agreed to bring us to the train station. The only thing I could think of was, Praise the Lord! (Yes I know, here comes the L word again)

In less than half an hour we reached the train station, bought some tickets and went straight to our train which could arrive any minute. Shanghai here we come (again)!

Just over an hour later we were back at the place where our journey started in the first place, Shanghai.

Mingzhu was pretty tired, like the rest of us, and decided to go back home and have dinner with her dad. After all, in just a few days she is going back to Belgium and has to miss him for quite a while. She wants to have a father-daughter moment.

The three of us go back to the center of the city to find something to eat. Because we haven't seen the lights at the Bund in the evening we go and have a look. Is this the same place???

During the day it was sometimes crowded but now the word I am seeking for is "overcrowded". Finally we find a spot at one of the many rails so that we could take some pictures. The lights are really magnificent and fun to watch to, but after a while we go back to Nanjing road to have a stroll and end up taking the metro back to our hotel.

After such a long walk and all the "excitements" of the day we are pretty exhausted. A hot shower feels more than welcome and before I even know it I am off to another country called dreamland!

Posted by Ils1976 01:18 Archived in China Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises lakes people trains food city friends family sightseeing sights asia grey_weather

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