"Above there is heaven and below there is Suzhou and Hangzhou." Maggie described Hangzhou as a little garden town and as we approached she asked if it was like Hillsboro. It seemed quite a bit bigger to me. We later learned that the population of Hangzhou was about 6 million. That's small compared to Shanghai (15 million) but more than 50 times the size of Hillsboro. (More than the state of Oregon.)

Hangzhou is about 110 miles from Shanghai on the Qiantang river. It's history dates to 221 BC but the current name was not adopted until 589 AD. For 237 years since the beginning of the ninth century, it was alternately capital of the reign of 14 emperors. Marco Polo visited Hangzhou around 1280 and described it as the most beautiful and magnificent city paradise in the world.

Maggie has breakfast on the train to Hangzhou. This was the most modern train we rode on. There are more modern trains than this but they cost more. The train coming back was much less expensive, much older and somewhat slower. (But not a bad deal for about one US dollar!)

Feilai Peak (The peak flown from afar.) According to legend the Monk Ji4 Dian1 foresaw that the peak would fly here and that it would land on a village. He went to the village to advise them to leave but no one believed what he said. Ji4 Dian1 was very worried because he knew the peak would destroy the whole village in a few minutes.

At that time there was a wedding ceremony being held and all the village people were together to celebrate. Ji4 Dian1 got the idea to grab the bride and carry her on his back running away.

Everyone in the village ran after him to get the bride back. Just after they ran out of the village, the flying peak fell down and destroyed village. The monk saved everyone in the village.

Hundreds of Buddhas where later carved into it to prevent it from further flying. This peak is made of limestone and is totally different from all the surrounding mountains which are sandstone.

The faces on the buddhas were destroyed during the cultural revolution.

Lin Yin Temple (The Temple of Souls Retreat.) This temple was originally built in 326AD but was ruined and restored several times. The last restoration was during the Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911).

In its heyday it had 3000 monks, 75 halls, 18 pavilions and 9 towers, but only the Celestial Kings Hall and the Main Buddha Hall survive. Inside the latter is a wood sculpture of Sakyamuni which is 65 feet high - the largest surviving wood sculpture in China. Behind it is a beautiful sculpture with 150 figures depicting the Buddhist story of Sudhana-Kumara visiting Avalokitesvara Budhisattva.

Maggie with incense sticks in front of the temple.

And going up to light them.

Another view of the incense burner.

Maggie quickly emulates a Buddha before someone can tell us that this is a no-photo area.

The Buhda Sakyamuni.

Maggie shows off 1000 Buddhas.

Some Xi1hu2 de feng1jing3 (West lake scenery).

A path near the lake.


We stayed at the Zhejiang Xizi Hotel. Here's a view out my window of the West Lake. Apparently, important people stay here as the place was under military guard - including one stationed just to the left of this picture.

The road to the Zhejiang Xizi Hotel.

A restaurant in Hangzhou. Restaurants in China range from street carts to huge establishments.

This is a little shopping area and the place where we purchased our tickets for the boat cruise.

I snuck this picture of Maggie while she was reading the itinerary for our boat tour.

The Hangzhou skyline from the West Lake.

We visited this small island in The West Lake called Xiao3 Ying2 Zhou1 (Isle of the Fairies). It was made in 1607, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with mud dredged from the lake. 60 % of the surface of the island is water creating the scene of "an isle in a lake, and a lake in an isle".

Another tour boat.

Maggie takes in the West lake from the island Xiao3 Ying2 Zhou1. This place is called "three pools mirroring the moon".

I took this picture after the woman facing the camera yelled "Hello!" at me.

Maggie feeds the fish some breakfast leftovers.

Tending the lotus plants.