Hangzhou Stop Off

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June 23rd 2015
Published: June 27th 2015
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Fast train to Hangzhou yesterday morning. Hangzhou is famous for its lake, West Lake and the surrounding park. It is considered one of the most beautiful cities in China. The city attracts many domestic tourists as it sits just one hour by train from Shanghai.

I’m staying at a 100 year old YMCA just a 5 minute walk from the lake. Now, the windows to the lobby are painted with the lyrics to the Village People song. It is a wonderful building set apart from its surroundings by a wall. I was surprised at the room and the amenities. Though there are dorm rooms as well, mine was not what I imagine when I picture a YMCA.

The lake is beautiful and the walk around it was very active. There are numerous temples, pagodas and gardens around the lake. Tourism officials have found ways to further leverage the beauty of the area by strategically placing Starbucks, other food, shopping and various ways to insure visitors don’t simply walk around, but spend some money too.

There's a pedestrian only area of Hangzhou that gets busy at night. The big draw is the food street. Stopped for various snacks, including a tasty fried soft shell fresh water crab.

Woke up early this morning to get a walk in before heading to Huangshan, a 3 hour bus ride away. Great street breakfast just outside the YMCA. Quiet stroll morning stroll along the lake.

First travel screwup of the trip. Someone at the YMCA helped me buy my bus ticket to Huangshan at the post office. I headed to the nearby subway station to head to the bus terminal only to find there are 4 or 5 in this city. Someone who looked official said the bus to Huangshan leaves from the Central Station. I arrived there about 20 minutes before the scheduled departure, only to find I was at the wrong station. Huangshan buses leave from West Station, an hour away. Clearly, I was going to miss my ticketed bus. The last bus of the day was leaving in just about an hour, so I had to rush to get there. Someone from Information at the station ran with me to take me to the direct bus to West Station, which had just left. A taxi was the only option. I made it with about 10 minutes to spare and out about $25 more than the trip to Huangshan was supposed to cost.

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