Saturday, August 06, 2005

China Tour - Part VI (Hangzhou & Zhouzhang)

Hangzhou - AngelaOver the next two days, we traveled outside of Shanghai to visit nearby attractions, the first of which was the city of Hangzhou. The main attraction was the beautiful lake area surrounded by a large park. After a long bus ride, in which we stopped a few times to pick up additional passengers, as seems to be the Chinese way, we arrived in Hangzhou and hired a taxi to take us to a temple surrounded by a park. I can't recall the name of the temple and, although it was still quite hot, there were plenty of shady places to rest. Near the entrance, there was a giant rock mountain which had many statues carved into it and numerous caves and passages running through it.

After a few hours there, we hired another taxi and relocated to Xi Hu (West Lake) and found a place to eat. The food was good and we were happy to be out of the heat. Following lunch, we made our way around the lake and hired a boat to take us across it. There were also a few small islands in the middle of the lake to explore. Wrapping up our adventure, we returned to the city center, purchased train tickets, and waited for our train to depart. Hangzhou was my least favorite place among the places we had been to so far but, all things considered, it was a relatively nice and relaxing day.

Zhouzhang - MeThe next morning, as we had had some difficulty procuring timely transportation on the previous day and ended up waiting around too much, we decided to hire a car for the whole day to take us to Zhouzhang and back. It proved to be one of our best decisions as the driver was simply at our mercy to wait for us and drive us around.

All of us were immediately impressed with the city, which had been restored in many places and was still being restored in other places. Built around and along a number of canals and waterways, Zhouzhang could be called the Venice of China, although it's certainly not as big as the one in Italy. The old part of the city had many narrow walkways, restored residences and shops to explore, and we had fun walking around and looking at everything. While we were eating lunch, it started to rain quite heavily, but by the time we had finished, the rain had stopped and it was much cooler. It was quite a long trip back, so we decided to return to Shanghai and get a good night's rest as we had to catch an early morning flight back to Beijing the next day.

We still had to eat dinner that night and, after resting for a few hours, we were ready to go out again for our final night in Shanghai. Angela wanted to eat pizza so our driver took us downtown. We hadn't really seen Shanghai at night and the driver took us to the center of the city, which was really spectacular. The streets were crowded with people and bright with neon light and it was exciting to walk around and look at all the marvelous color and life of the city. It nice cap on our stay in Shanghai.

RickshawWe returned to spectacular weather in Beijing the next morning and, after taking a ride in a rickshaw (I guess the rickshaw driver didn't understand that I wanted all four of us in the photo) around some of the Hutongs (narrow alleyways lined with old-style residences), spent the rest of the day shopping at some of Beijing's many markets. We had a late dinner with Angela's friend Sylvia, went to bed tired, and woke up early the next morning to escort my parents to the airport. We all had a great time in China and I invite you all to come and check it out, if you get a chance. There are many other pictures than the ones I've posted here. Click the My Photos link in the menu at the left and take a look.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your commentary.
Love, Mom

Bob said...

Thanks to you, mom. Seems like I'm getting a lot of readers these days, but no one ever says anything about it.