We found out Saturday evening that Kaelyn had Sunday off as well (she had Saturday off too). Time for a road trip! Hangzhou was the city was originally told she would be working in, with Kaatje in Shanghai. They are about 175km apart, and by train from 1-hr to 1.5hrs away. The idea we assumed was that I would travel between the two cities during the week, but actually staying in Hangzhou to be near Kaelyn. Thankfully that was switched so we could all be together.
I found us a train that wouldn’t require us to get up too early, departing at 11:30am. I booked it and started looking for the return trip but I did not plan that well. There was ONLY 2 seats left I could find, even with available ‘standing room only’ – the only drawback, business class. So the tickets there cost us $20/each and the way back cost us $50/each. When else would we be able to do this?
Kaelyn arrived at my apartment at 9:15am and we walked to the IAPM mall to catch the metro line 10 right to the train station (about a 2km walk). We arrived with about an hour to spare, got our tickets and decided to grab breakfast at McDonald’s. Unfortunately, it was 10:40am and it seems they stop serving breakfast earlier in the day and we weren’t really in the mood for hamburgers. So we grabbed a 6″ sub at Subway!
The train ride was enjoyable, and we met a gentlemen who lives in San Fransisco works for Uber and is on a 1 month ‘break’ before he changes jobs over to Google. We had a good chat. Interestingly enough, about 45minutes into the ride the person behind me slammed his tray back into the seat and started yelling. Our seat mate speaks Chinese and told us the passenger behind us was angry that we hadn’t stopped talking THE WHOLE TRIP!!!
When we arrived at Hangzhou we grabbed the metro to get about 2km closer to the lake and save the extra walking. The city itself is beautiful and the streets wide and very clean. Instead of crossing the road, the actually have pedestrian walkways – HOWEVER, they didn’t plan on 6’7″ visitors (see picture below – I got stuck :). We found a Starbucks to grab a quick drink as we started our walk.
West Lake is a World Heritage spot and you can see why. Just breath taking. We walked along the south shore and saw many interesting things
- many many newlyweds getting their photos taken
- traditional boats on the lake zipping people around
- similar to the race cars at Disney, there were boats people could take out that went in a huge circle in the lake
- people getting their photos taken in traditional Chinese clothing
- a pedestrian bridge they raise/lower to bring the traditional chinese boats into harbor each night
As we were walking, I could see a pagoda (Leifeng Pagoda) in the distance. I said to Kaelyn I sure hope we have time to get there. Thankfully we had enough time and arrived after only 70 minutes of walking. The cost to enter was 40RMB ($7.70CAD) and at first I hesitated – we had spent so much already on the train. But when I looked up and saw people AT THE TOP of the pagoda, my mind was changed. I’m not sure what the blue sign at the ticket booth is trying to say there.
You can read below about the Leifeng Pagoda and we climbed 6 flights of stairs to get the amazing view. When we were done, we walked around the complex a bit and headed back for our 6pm train. On our way back, we found an ice cream vendor and got Kaelyn and vanilla soft server ice cream cone for 15RMB ($2.80CAD). We were pretty hot and tired, so a nice treat. One bite though and I had to have my own. Unfortunately they were all out of vanilla and had to give me the secret flavor – PINK (strawberry). It was so yummy.
On the way back, I took a page out of Jay’s book and took a side road (still very busy not like the ones last weekend). As we rounded the corner we came across a food vendor that was selling baked goods in a wood fired stove that they stuck the food too and baked. It was AMAZINGLY good and cheap, 5RMB. We should have got 2, Kaelyn ate most of it.
We arrived back at the station with about 30min to spare. There must have been 300 people waiting to take this train and with 12minutes before the train left (and it leaves on time) they still hadn’t opened the gates. I was a little nervous. But all was good and were we in for a surprise. I had no idea we were IN THE FRONT of the train. Right behind the conductor, the first 2 seats. What a way to end the day. Kaelyn couldn’t get enough selfies.