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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

XiHu (西湖) - Part 1

On the 4th day, we left TunXi Town and moved on to HangZhou city, by taking the express bus.

We arrived at the HangZhou bus terminal at around 1 pm, then hired a taxi to drive us straight to the hotel. Although the hotel is not so far away from the terminal, it took us 45 min before we finally reached the hotel. What else, but the traffic congestion. 

After checking in, we rested for a while in the hotel room. Then, we walked out to the lake side. My brother said his friend, who live in Shanghai had highly recommended a restaurant to him. So, we went to check it out.

There are many eateries nearby the lake, but this restaurant seems like the most popular one. We had waited for about 30 minutes before our number was called. The ambiance in the restaurant is quite ok, foods are ok, price is also reasonable too. So, it's a good suggestion. 

I don't quite remember the name of this restaurant, but I remember when they called for the number, their speaker will automatically said : your grandma called you to eat rice lo...So, I remember the name is something like Y-Po-Jia (外婆家).   

Before departure, husband had searched for the attraction around HangZhou city, and he had concluded that only XiHu looks more attractive. Well, he has quite some standards here. 

Only when we reached XiHu, then we got to know this was actually my brother's 4th visitation to this lake. He came here with different group of people each time. My my, speaking of frequent traveler....

This has also shown that my brother is quite an easy-going person, definitely not the very-particular type. I guess that's also the reason why he got so many good friends who live in different countries. 

Saw a couple dancing over there...well, not something we get to see everyday.

West Lake or XiHu, is a freshwater lake located in the historic area of HangZhou. 

Surrounded by hills on three sides and by the downtown area on one side, the lake is divided by the causeway of SuDi (蘇堤), Bai Di (白堤) and YangGong Di (楊公堤). 

Gorgeous Old Style Cruise Boat

An old Chinese saying : There is a paradise in heaven, SuZhou and HangZhou on earth. Centuries later, Marco Polo called HangZhou the most enchanting city in the world. 

Well, I think XiHu in modern day looks more commercial than in the old day.  
To me, XiHu doesn't look especially beautiful, not to the extend I will call it a paradise.

After work or on weekends, many city dwellers leave their concrete, noise pollution and hectic schedule behind to meet along the shores to stroll or have a cup of tea here. 

Like it or not, XiHu is the pride of HangZhou. It is a favorite spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the modern city. 

A young artist running his business at lake side.

As most of the people did, we strolled along the lake slowly.

Husband said this is on of the very expensive restaurant-hotel in HangZhou. In view of its location, there is no question about it. 

The causeway we were walking on...

There isn't much to see along this stretch except this gorgeous hotel on one side & the lake on the other side. 

What a contrast....

I like this tree (liu-shu), I always do, for when their long leaves swing, they look so romantic. 

We passed by a large field. We can see a difference if compared this with the large field we saw in the western countries. Here, no body would like to sit on it or lay on it. But in the western countries, people would treat it like their own carpet at home.  

30 minutes later, we were still walking on the lakeside boulevard

Spring is said to be the best time to visit HangZhou, for this is the season for flowers blossoming, filling the air with sweetness and romance. 

Lucky we, just in time to see the beautiful cherry blossom. 

Awesome flowers. 

Not easy to find a place to sit on...cause every one was taken.

So, we could only move on....

Forgot what he was bugging his daddy for?

It would be nice to dine in this restaurant...

with a view like this....

and this....

and this too...

XiHu has influenced poets and painters throughout the ages for its natural beauty and historical relics, and it has been among the most important sources of inspiration for Chinese garden designers.

A golden bull soaking in the lake, cool.

XiHu was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, and was described as having "influenced garden design in the rest of China as well as Japan and Korea over the centuries".

A very cute photo. I like this one.

Ok, finally we spotted an empty seat where we could rest our feet on.

Watching the boat sailed by slowly...

The sky was getting dark by then, and we were pretty exhausted too. So, we decided to go back to the hotel.

Instead of walking back via the same way, we continued to walk up front to look for the exit.

On the way, saw some temples, pagodas, gardens and artificial islands within the lake.

The light had been turned on a bit later, creating a different atmosphere to the place.

There are 10 views in XiHu, namely : Spring dawn on the Su Causeway, Lotus in the breeze at crooked courtyard, Autumn moon over the calm lake, Melithing snow on the Broken Bridge, Listening to orioles singing in the willows, Viewing fish at flower harbor, sunset glow over Leifeng Pagoda, Twin peaks piercing clouds, Evening bell ringing at Nanping Hill, Three pools mirroring the moon. 

This is one of the 10 views : sunset glow over Leifeng Pagoda (雷峰塔).

LeiFeng Pagoda is a 5-story tall tower with eight sides, located on Sunset Hill south of XiHu. 

Originally constructed in the year AD 975, it collapsed in 1924 due to a superstitious believe that the bricks from the tower cold repel illness or prevent miscarriage, so many people stole bricks from the tower to grind into powder for oral consumption. Oh my. 

The pagoda was rebuilt in 2002. Since then it has been a popular tourist attraction.

Leifeng Pagoda is one of the 10 sights of XiHu because of the Legend of the White Snake. 

At its most basic, the story tells about a young scholar who falls in love with a beautiful woman, unaware that she is a white snake who has taken on human form. A monk intervenes in order to save the scholar's soul and casts the white snake into a deep well at the Lei Feng Pagoda.

Over centuries, the story has evolved from horror story to romance story with the scholar and the white snake-woman genuinely in love with each other. But such a relationship is forbidden by the laws of Heaven...

William was so into it when I told him the story. And he thinks the monk is really such a busy-body person, haha... 

Finally, the sky turned dark...

We found an exit here, and walked back to the main road. Then hired a taxi and went back to our hotel.

It was an exhausted day for everyone. We didn't even go for dinner after this cause we had had a late lunch and the oily foods made us feel so full the whole evening. All we wanted to do was just to sit down and relax....

At last, we ordered some fried rice & fried noodles from the hotel, and spent the evening eating those foods and watching some silly movies in the room. 


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