Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hangzhou

We spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Hangzhou to the South West of Shanghai. We stayed at the sister hostel of the one we stayed in Shanghai and have to say it was really nice. We even had on demand TV and free wifi in the room as well as an en-suite. Not bad for less than 15 quid a night!.The hostel was in walking distance from 'West Lake' the main attraction in Hangzhou.

Once we'd sorted our accommodation we took a stroll along the tree lined paths fringing the lake. We watched the sunset and took loads of photos before seeking out somewhere to eat for over an hour before resorting to the place next door to the hostel. Typical! The food was good though.

Wednesday morning we were up at stupid o'clock thanks to the local Bin men. So we enjoyed the complimentary breakfast before borrowing a couple of tatty bikes from the hostel. We'd envisaged a nice peaceful peddle round the lake and across the large traffic-free causeway in the lake's centre. Sadly, since the Lonely planet was last updated all but one of the three causeways have become pedestrian only. Thanks to the tour groups I suspect, as the causeways were already crowded by the time we got there at 9.00am!

We ended up mostly on the road around the lake, which in parts was ok, in others positively dangerous. At one point Anna nearly got taken out by a tour bus that was trying to park in the cycle lane. A few other heart stopping moments meant we felt another trip to Dairy Queen was well justified.

In hindsight we had a lot of fun riding round the whole lake and would recommend it as a good way to see the sights. At the time it wasn't as relaxing as we'd imagined.

In the afternoon we took to the streets on foot this time. Heading to Wushan Square in search of food we stumbled accidentally on a tourist street. Very organised fun. There was a food section towards the end showcasing local snacks and street foods. Once we'd found a table to share with a bemused young Chinese couple I set off in hunter-gatherer role. I managed to secure us some tasty glutinous rice in a pineapple, some deep fried pasty looking things, spring rolls, and meat on sticks. Not bad I think you'd agree all for the princely sum of two pounds fifty.

The couple across the table were far more adventurous in their choices. Boiled duck head as well as a wing of some poor and now flightless bird. Both were an evil browny-red colour. Much to my amusement the girl took one bite of the duck head and spat it out making her boyfriend eat the rest. From his gestures I understood she'd found it a touch too spicy.

After a lazy afternoon we headed out for nice dinner and a couple of cheeky beers before an early night, ready for our return trip to Shanghai in the morning.

1 comment:

norry said...

Hi Guys just to let you know that I read your blog so keep posting. It's nice to know what you are doing. Don't stop writing half way like Dave did! norry