Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province, China)

[See the GPS Track of this trip on Komoot ]

I took the bullet train from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway station and arrived in Hangzhou within less than two hours, on a misty but hot Friday afternoon, and decided not to take a taxi to the hostel I booked. So I chose the metro to get as close to my destination as I could. But first I had to find a tourist information to grab a free city map. Unfortunately most of the ticket machines were out of order and I had to stand in line for what felt like an eternity. I went through the classical Chinese security check at metro stations and waited for the train… I was a bit of an attraction there, a ‚laowai‘ in outdoor attire. When I checked the address of the hostel on my phone I got confused, because it said the place was on the northern end of the Westlake, so I got off the train and walked around to find the place my phone wanted to navigate me to.

I was mistaken… my smartphone showed me a wrong place on the map, so I walked back southwards to the lake. After some time of wandering about in an urban concrete jungle I could finally see what I’ve come here for, green trees and a lake. I arrived at the promenade soon and it reminded me of some kind of health resort my grandma would like to visit. This place by the lake seemed kind of familiar, just like the places where she likes to spend some time in summer. The only difference: I was in China, 8.000 kilometres away from home.

The view was so familiar, you could see all the things you would expect at such a place. Parents and grandparents, who spoiled their children and grandchildren with ice cream and cold softdrinks and couples on a romantic holiday. They all enjoyed the day by the lake and walked along the promenade. Small cafés invited to have a cup of green tea or other drinks and rest for a while. The boats on the Westlake with those beautiful hills and forests in the background were taken home by tourists, as pictures in the memories of thousands of smartphones. Even a poor squirrel on a tree became an attraction. It was literally surrounded by dozens of people, all of them aiming at it with their camera lenses, with no chance to escape.

After a while I decided to take a taxi, since I had already spent hours in the city without even getting close to the hostel. If I had walked there I wouldn´t have arrived before sunset. Trusting the driver, I left him where he dropped me off, just to find out I was still at least a kilometre away from the address I showed him. So I walked around, asking people for the way, sweated and with my backpack on my shoulders. The receptionist of another hostel could finally give me some useful advice and after half an hour of walking around I finally found the hostel, hidden at the end of a small and narrow street.

I checked in, put my backpack in my room and went to the bar next door, where I started to plan my hiking trip for the next day and had some smalltalk with some young lads from Belgium before they left. Later I found out they were my roommates. I spent the evening having some beer, packing my backpack for the next day and buying provasion in the small shop nearby and making plans.

[See the GPS Track of this trip on Komoot ]


2 thoughts on “Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province, China)

  1. You probably know HZ better than i do now. I was born there. But i rarely go back. Now that my grandparents are old, and your post reminded me abt them, i shld probably visit them. And also visit this beautiful place i may have missed over for the past two decades.

    Please share more pictures 🙂


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