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!