Our trip to Hangzhou was a visit to James school friend, Mustafa! We had a lovely 2 days being shown around the city by him and his girlfriend Sia!
A very early wake up call for our 8am train was not my favourite. On top of that, we had not booked seats so had to sit on the floor.
Luckily, we were met by the friendliest guy on earth, Mus.
It wasn’t long before we were whisked off to dump our bags and be cheered up by the adorable Dudu!
Hot Pot is an absolute culinary must if you visit China. It’s very old and traditional style of food that was apparently much loved by Chinese Emperors!
A large pot full of various soups and broths is placed in the centre of the dining table. Various raw food stuffs around the table are then placed in the broth by diners and cooked in a manner similar to fondue.
Mustafa, famous for his incredibly large appetite, ordered an abundance of food. We had sliced beef, sliced ham, meatballs, dumplings, Chinese lettuce, tofu and loads of vegetables.
The particular place we went to also had an especially unique feature: they grew their own mushrooms on bits of wood in house! You literally were given them and had to cut them off! It was amazing and obviously perfectly fresh.
Needless to say, the meal was delicious and the entire experience a real novelty. I’m so glad we were able to do this in China.
Specifically, it was cool to do it with a Chinese speaker, familiar with the way things work. It would have been almost impossible for us to know what to do and what to order without help!
Next up Mus took us to an iconic Hangzhou attraction: West Lake, a man-made lake widely regarded as one of the most beautiful in China. It lived up to that expectation.
The lake is huge and you could easily spend more than one day exploring the many scenic spots it has to offer. It was so large that we struggled to see the opposite shore properly. Of course, the smog may have had something to do with that.
We decided to take a rowing boat out to get some peace from the busy bustling shores.
We rose as early as possible to get a traditional Chinese breakfast from the various street vendors near Mustafa’s house. True to form, Mus bought a large range of way too much food in his insistence we try all of the dishes he wanted to show us.
Breakfast is now my favourite meal of the day!
It was so good! We had pork dumplings; egg & spring onion wraps, tofu soups and rice porridge. My personal favourite though, were the ‘crude oil sticks’. Basically, these are long thin strings of fried dough. I would describe them as less dense, savoury donuts that are long instead of circular. The were luscious!
Qinghefang Pedestrian Street
Qinghefang is a well preserved historical street where you can see much historical architecture. It also boasts a broad range of intriguing shops selling an array of items, from shoes to purses.
We visited a shop selling sweet Chinese wine that also allowed buyers to test samples prior to buying! I have to say I wasn’t a massive fan of the very sweet taste.
We also visited the Zhubingren Bronze Sculpture Art Museum. It was an interesting addition to the day with many beautiful bronze sculpture to observe.
Next, we went back to West Lake to visit the Long Bridge: a pretty area opposite the famous Leifeng Pagoda temple across the water. The bridge, which isn’t even that long, is pretty and features a small pavilion.
Mus told us a story about the alternative name for the bridge. It is also known as Double Suicide Bridge because couple supposedly jumped into the lake and drowned. At the very spot, lotus flowers immediately sprang up.
After another glorious breakfast sourced by Mus it was time to head back to the station to catch our train to Hong Kong.
But not before a quick ride on Mustafa’s motorbike!
What you think?
Let me know in the comments section!
If you enjoyed this article don’t forget to share and like it!