Hangzhuo and the art of spontaneous travelling

Hangzhuo’s main attraction without a doubt is West Lake. I can honestly say that it is one of the most magnificent lakes I have ever seen (if you ignore myriads of tourists for a second). The entire lake surrounding area is covered with countless idyllic parks, pagodas and gardens. Looking at all this beauty, I felt completely overwhelmed at times. The amount of work put into something like this is extraordinary. Unfortunately it rained and the lake was covered in mist for two days I stayed at Hangzhuo. Locals kept saying that the lake is particularly beautiful in the fog, which it was, but I was hoping for cheerful weather and beautiful sunset pictures. Beautiful in its own way, but no pretty pictures I am afraid. Hostel did not offer any entertainment, as the only people I met there were a bunch of Chinese people and one dull Canadian guy, so I had to move on.

The next planned stop was Huangshan (aka Yellow Mountain), the most famous mountain in China, but I ended up in Yangshou instead. Only some 1200km apart from each other. It seemed like all the factors were against me going to Huangshan. First I missed my bus stop and spent almost two hours getting to the train station. Figuring out local public buses instead of taking a taxi is way forward by the way. Second, I was not able to buy a ticket Huangshan City, but bought a ticket to a similar sounding place instead (damn tones). The fact that until recently Huangshan City was known as Tuxie only added more confusion. Writing down both places in Chinese on a piece of paper was no use either. Then I walked to a nearby bus terminal hoping it would be the correct one, but no luck there. All that combined with pouring rain and the backpack on my shoulders made me less than enthusiastic to go to Huangshan. Eventually I gave up the thought and bought a ticket to Guilin instead. No problems or misunderstanding here. I have no regrets about Huangshan. Rainy weather does not go well with mountains after all, plus both Shanghai and Hangzhou are definitely places to visit again. And Yangshou is lovely so far. Looking forward into renting a bicycle and exploring surroundings tomorrow.

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