Saturday, December 30, 2017


Marco Polo described it as "The City of Heaven," Pip described it as "kinda neat with a great hotel." We decided to try out the bigger bullet train and take a quick trip to the small city (despite being bigger than any US city) of Hangzhou.  One of the seven ancient capitals of China, this place is too full of history, beauty, and culture to be able to fully appreciate.  We stayed mostly on the scenic side full of water, islands, forests, and hills, but dabbled in the city famous for silk, tea, medicine, and scissors (?). The weather was not very agreeable during our stay as the pollution raged and it rained a bit, making visibility pretty rotten.  Nonetheless, the scenery was still breath-taking and we could imagine how gorgeous things might look on a return visit.


We enjoyed the tour of the West Lake and loved the Temple of Souls Retreat.  The temple was never-ending, the history and stories of the Peak Flown From Afar are all wonderful.  The stone statues are beautiful and the forest surrounding it all was used for parts of movies like Crouching Tiger.  We ventured out onto an island that was mostly ponds and known as Three Pools Mirroring the Moon.  All-in-all, an amazing spot.

The girls also loved being in a hotel and getting to swim.  One would think they would get tired after walking 5-8 miles per day, but they still had plenty of energy to swim every morning and evening, and we still had to calm them down every night.

Happy New Years to all!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Naks.  It was a beautiful holiday and we are still enjoying the break from school.  The girls were very excited about what Santa brought them.  Years ago Kara wanted to go bowling over the holidays (Papa joked that the bowling alleys were closed as all the workers were out doing service learning) and this year the girls were pumped to get in some Christmas bowling. 

On Christmas Eve, we visited the Shanghai Museum where we were blown away by everything.  Much of the museum was from over 2500 years ago (except the visiting Russian exhibit) and it is hard for us to wrap our heads around what a rich history this country owns.  That point was emphasized on our trip to Hangzhou, pictures and blog upcoming.

Ancient writing on animal bone  ---   Russian "Portrait of an Unknown Woman"