The last couple of weeks have been slightly eventful, as we’ve visited many different places around Hangzhou and the various tourist sites. To view pictures of the trip, there is now a flickr account that includes most of the sights that we have seen. You can view them using this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/97569012@N02/
Firstly, West Lake is one of the major draws of the city. It is well maintained, has natural beauty, and most of the city can be seen from one side, and it provides a panoramic view of the area. There are several traditional boats that are available to take tourists around the lake, and some larger ones provide a dinner service overlooking a fountain show. This fountain show is a set of water jets creating scenes that go to traditional Chinese music.
Another thing we were able to do was to climb a mountain that was located be the university. From the top, you are able to see both sides of the city. On a clear day, you are able to see much further than we were able to. After a few pictures, we climbed down the mountain through the botanical gardens. There was plenty of bamboo trees and flowers, creating a pretty nice looking garden setting. At the end of the day, we had dinner at a Szechuan restaurant with all kinds of spicy food.
Another draw of the Hangzhou area is the National Silk Museum. It includes the process of silk fabrication, examples of silk uses, and the history of the silk trade within China and the rest of the world. There was a recreation of the silk looms used in history, with a working model on display as well. The silk itself was very light, and very strong with its natural properties.
That same day we were able to go see the Leifeng Pagoda, which is located on the hillside next to West Lake. The tower itself is 235 feet tall and is 5 stories. The circular structure provides a panoramic view of the area, which is quite picturesque. It was originally built in 975 AD to honour the birth of a new son. There is also the folk story of the White Snake. In the touching story, a snake girl and a young man fell in love with each other, but they were separated by an evil old monk with magical powers, who had the snake girl imprisoned under the Leifeng Pagoda for years. She is finally rescued by her son who caused the collapse of the pagoda. The original pagoda was burned down by Japanese pirates, and later was rebuilt by the local government to preserve it’s history.
Hopefully I can continue to bring you more information on my stay here in Hanzhou, and I will try to keep the photostream updated.