Exploring Hangzhou’s West Lake

Busy and buzzing West Lake
Busy and buzzing West Lake

Firstly – all credit to Mitch for these photos. He takes my iPhone and snaps away, sometimes for a long time and I impatiently look at my watch. I then look at said photos later and they are stunning, so, credit to him.

One of the main tourist attractions in our new hometown of Hangzhou is the West Lake. A gorgeous natural lake which was made a UNESCO site in 2011. Being so beautiful means on the weekend it’s buzzing with tourists (national and international), plus locals coming to enjoy the scenery, market and restaurants.

Looking impressive at night
Looking impressive at night

Mitch and I first went one Saturday, it was busy and little windy but still magnificently beautiful. Truth be told, however, I only really fell in love with it when I first saw it at night.

There are mountains in the back drop lit up by lights, and you can see the pagoda standing tall on top. As well as this, you get boats venturing across, lit up as they sail. Plus, from the side we walked down you can see the wonderful causeways opposite lit up as well. Then, you walk further around and see the spectacular fountains.

In the daytime, there are all these seats lined up looking out across the lake, we initially thought: Alright, thats nice if you want to sit and contemplate the lovely lake for a while. However, it was at this moment the penny dropped, you can sit there and wait for the fountain to do its pretty dance (I think they come on about once ever hour).

Snazzy
Snazzy

We strolled about the lake for a while in the evening, on the hunt for a bar recommended in our Lonely Planet guide called Eudora (despite living here, we still use it for recommendations). We managed to find it, buzzing with atmosphere on a Friday night with a live band. We found some seats outside and ordered some beer. A shade more expensive than other places we we’d been to, but we embraced it, ordered some western style food (chips and onion rings) and danced to the band.  There was a mixture of locals and foreigners, a cosy and lively atmosphere.

I could get use to that view
I could get use to that view

Whenever we walk around the lake I have that strange moment of thinking to myself: Wow, I live here. It still seems like madness to me, and has still been one hell of a rollercoaster ride. Some days are stressful, still settling into the teaching work and the culture here. However, when I have evening strolls around the West Lake, somehow all my stresses seem to fade.

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