Friday, January 26, 2018

Hangzhou: West Lake

West Lake is surrounded by mountains on three sides and is divided by several causeways and man-made islands.  Measuring 3.2 km (2 miles) by 2.8 km (1.7 miles), the average depth of the lake is 2.3 meters (7.5 feet).  I start my exploration at the Broken Bridge on the Bai Causeway.  There are several explanations for the name of the bridge ranging from a simple thought that Gu Shan Road stops here to the, more romantic, image that when the causeway is covered with snow, the snow on the bridge melts, breaking the long white chain.

 Views across West Lake from Broken Bridge

  Broken Bridge

 Walking down the Bai Causeway from Broken Bridge

Along the causeway are people fishing, boating, dancing, jogging, and walking.

Morning ballroom dancing by the Broken Bridge

Continuing down the causeway, we are all (except for the power walkers and joggers) enjoying the great views across the lake.

 Views across the lake

Along the causeway are restaurants and great spots to rest and relax.

Restaurants and resting places

Continuing down the causeway, I find galleries and the Zhejiang Provincial Museum.  But, the place that intrigues me the most and pulls me in is the remains of the Temporary Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).  Several emperors used this temporary palace when they visited Hangzhou.  Only a few buildings remain, but the few that do and the grounds are spectacular.

Remains of the Temporary Imperial Palace

Along the rest of the causeway are beautiful gardens, welcoming me to the end of this first part of West Lake, including the largest lotus theme garden in China.

 Gardens at the upper end of the Bai Causeway

 I reflect in the gardens and prepare to continue my adventure around the lake.

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