This weekend, we took the chance to stay in Hangzhou for a visit after a customer meeting on Friday. Qiming and his family joined us and were excellent tour guides.
Hands down, Hangzhou is much more beautiful than Suzhou.
We started our tour on Saturday with a street food breakfast (bao zi for 1RMB) and took the hotel shuttle to the West Lake. Weather was perfect: A light drizzle and fog over the mountains in the distance. The Lake is known for 10 famous views: all of them very scenic in this atmosphere; all of them with descriptive names (Bild-Zeitung, take notes). We started at the Orioles Singing and walked clockwise around the lake (back over Su Causway (“Dawn on the Su Causeway in the Spring”). At the North side of the Su Causeway is Chinas largest Lotus garden with over 200 species. Lunch right at the Lotus garden (apparently very famous restaurant; lakefish and slimy but tasty underwater plants). On the way back to the city, we took the boats via the central island (“Three pools mirroring the moon”). Incredibly crowded. Back in the city, we spend the evening in Hefang Street (old city street), eating lotus fruit and peanut sweets. We ended our evening in the atmospheric Daton Alley and Zhongshang Road with their street food booths. Got to love the tastz Beggar Chicken (chicken wrapped in Lotus leaves and than mud). Legend goes that beggars would steal chickens but had no pots to cook them. So they used this method.
There were even a few minutes to relax in our wonderful hotel (East Hangzhou Hotel), watching the Great Gatsby.
Day 2. Bao Zi breakfast and than out of the city. Took a taxi up Jiuxi Road and hiked through the famous tea country of Longjin. We walked 7 river crossings of the 9 river crossing path. Water was very high, so sandles were the choice of the day. In Longjincun, Qiming found us a fantastic restaurant on a balcony overlooking the city. We had tried the very best tea (the one that is harvested before Qing Ming (spring). in the high quality tea, the tea leaves swim upright and very fine hairs can be observed in the water).
After getting back to the hotel, we went straight to the train station, pick up the tickets, pay Hefang Lu another visit to buy a truckload of the peanut candy and some bao zi for the way.
All in all, an awesome and very relaxing trip (Qiming and Jane were awesome tour guides that showed us a lot of new things and hidden places).