Thursday, 21 June 2012

Hangzhou

Last week we spent four nights in Hangzhou, a city an hour’s train journey to the south-west of Shanghai. We arrived in the late afternoon at the youth hostel, perfectly located in a quiet pedestrian street just behind the drum tower.

That evening we ventured out to see what was what. The pedestrian street actually turned out to be a collection of pedestrian streets, focussed on the local arts, crafts and like everywhere else in China, tea. It was all very pleasant. Apart from this freaky looking sculpture halfway up.

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Hey kids! Come on up…

The temple on the hill was lit up nice though.

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There was also, as we discovered on our last night, a long street food market just the other side of the drum tower.

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Stinky tofu. Why? WHY?

As tempting as it was I managed once again to resist the barbecued tarantula.

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“Insect lollies, get yer insect lollies”

Talking of food, one of the better meals we had included this dish:

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Ah, that’s good crack

With a name like that, resistance was futile.

The rest of our time was spent enjoying the beautiful West Lake. It was quite hazy while we were there so the views weren’t perfect but it was very picturesque all the same.

Although it’s only a few miles round the lake, in the heat it’s a bit far to walk, so we decided to hire bikes. Hangzhou has got a great public bike scheme, like the Boris bikes but way cheaper. Two days cycling cost us just 90p!

It was all very relaxing: a bit of cycling…

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The odd snack…

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At last, something edible on a stick

And all punctuated by some lovely scenery.

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Check the photos link on the right for more.

In the evenings, we ate in the local “Gourmet Street” – a line of restaurants serving local Hangzhou cuisine, some of which (including the liver), was really good.

Overall, we really enjoyed Hangzhou, and would happily go back. If you’re ever in Shanghai, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Current location: Hong Kong
Next stop: Macau on 26th June

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