A quick visit to Hangzhou

Trip Start Mar 26, 2013
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13
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Trip End Apr 06, 2013


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Flag of China  , Zhejiang,
Wednesday, April 3, 2013

On the bus once again to travel to Hangzhou.  Hangzhou is a famous tea growing area of China, they grow a lot of green tea here.  It's also the honeymoon capital of China.  A lot of people come here to get married on the shores of West Lake.  The city is filled with many beautiful parks and gardens and it has canals like Suzhou.  West Lake is also a man made lake like Kinming Lake at the Summer Palace.  There are islands in the lake with tea houses and restaurants on them.  No motor boats are allowed on the lake, only paddle boats or electric powered.  You are not allowed to fish or swim in the lake either.
Not far from the city is a tea growing area called Dragon Valley.  The hillsides are covered with rows of tea bushes and people were out picking the new spring leaves.  The spring leaves make the best tea and in the past the spring leaves were saved exclusively for the Emperor.  You can eat the leaves right off the bushes and they were really good.  Traditionally, only women picked the leaves and men roasted them and that is generally still the practice today.  We got to taste some tea made from freshly picked and roasted leaves and it was yummy.  Green tea is good for you, also.
After spending the night  in Hangzhou, we visited the Linying Temple before driving to Shanghai.  The Linying Temple is a monastery where there were once as many as 3000 monks.  There are still about 300 monks living at the temple.  On the hillside beside the temple there are over 300 carvings of Buddhas made right into the rock of the mountain.  Inside one hall of the temple, there are 500 bronze statues of Buddhas and each one is different.  Linying Temple also has the largest statue of a sitting Buddha in China.  We weren't allowed to take pictures inside some of the buildings.
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