In my earlier post today, I wrote that I was visiting Hangzhou because of something Marco Polo had written in the 13th Century.
Having spent a day wandering around the West Lake, could it be said that the original travel writer was correct?
I will let you be the judge of that.
The lake itself is almost 3km by 3km though the forest and parks surrounding it spread far beyond this. The water is actually surrounded on three sides by mountains and by the city on the remaining.
There are two causeways crossing the lake if you don’t wish to walk the circumference and the longest is Su Di named for the politician who ordered its building.
The causeway is tree lined and offered some amazing views as the sun was setting, particularly of the windsurfers and rowers out on the water.
The Lakeside is well used too and dotted around the water’s edge were pavilions where people gathered to sing karaoke.
This one was a memorial to Qiu Jin who was executed in 1907 after a failed uprising against the Qing dynasty, and she is considered a national heroine in China; a martyr of republicanism and feminism.
She spoke out for women’s rights, such as the freedom to marry, freedom of education, and abolishment of the practice of foot binding.
Her pavillion is called The Wind and Rain Pavillion, possibly inspired by her last words… Autumn wind, autumn rain – they make one die of sorrow.
West Lake is famous for its Lotus Flowers though the season had passed for these.
It is a stunning place and a popular location for wedding photography. There were three separate weddings being photographed on the same spot today.
I think it is incredible that the photographers can get the angle that makes it appear that the couple are alone on the Lake – no rowers, no boat trips, no rest of their own wedding party and the other two sets of bride and groom definitely don’t exist either.
Considering the fact that West Lake is at the edge of a city of six million people, filling up with fast food franchises, I found it to be one of the loveliest and most peaceful places I’ve ever been.
*Featured Photo: Sunset over West Lake.
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