Within a few days of being in Shanghai, we decided to be spontaneous and take a train ride to Hangzhou – a garden city also known as West Lake, just outside of Shanghai. Although I love being spontaneous, I learned that we should have done a bit more research before venturing out…especially to a place where English is hardly used.
We got to the train station, waited in line forever to buy our tickets, only to discover that we needed our passports! We were travelling an hour away and not leaving the country, so we didn’t think it was necessary.
Back home for the passports.
Got back to the train station, expecting to get on the next train (they leave hourly), only to discover trains actually sell-out here, so we had to wait another two hours for the next available train.
Finally on the train!
So we got to Hangzhou and thought we were going to hop in a taxi to go to our hotel, but every taxi we showed the address to refused us. We were about eight denials in before we decided to start walking. We walked. And walked. And walked. Big shout out to Google maps for leading the way. We eventually got a taxi to take us to our hotel. It was the most adorable little villa in the hills — in the most confusing, tiny, and winding roads. No wonder taxis didn’t want to take us!
Luckily the hotel was a gem and the staff were SO helpful and accommodating. It was a small villa with only 10 rooms, but the staff treated it as a high end as a Ritz Carlton, which was impressive and so nice.
We encountered a monsoon and so many little mess-ups over the two days, due to lack of research and translation issues, but we just had to laugh about it. We checked out the giant gardens and parks, rented a two seater bike, toured West Lake, tried crab on a stick, and ate at a great restaurant called The Grandmas.
Waiting for the monsoon to pass